Sec. 7-239. Rates for use. (a) The legislative body shall establish just and equitable
rates or charges for the use of the waterworks system authorized herein, to be paid by
the owner of each lot or building which is connected with and uses such system, and
may change such rates or charges from time to time. Such rates or charges shall be
sufficient in each year for the payment of the expense of operation, repair, replacements
and maintenance of such system and for the payment of the sums herein required to be
paid into the sinking fund. No such rate or charge shall be established until after a public
hearing at which all the users of the waterworks system and the owners of property
served or to be served and others interested shall have an opportunity to be heard concerning such proposed rate or charge. Notice of such hearing shall be given, at least ten days
before the date set therefor, in a newspaper having a circulation in such municipality.
Such notice shall set forth a schedule of rates or charges, and a copy of the schedule of
rates or charges established shall be kept on file in the office of the legislative body and
in the office of the clerk of the municipality, and shall be open to inspection by the
public. The rates or charges so established for any class of users or property served shall
be extended to cover any additional premises thereafter served which are within the
same class, without the necessity of a hearing thereon. Any change in such rates or
charges may be made in the same manner in which they were established, provided, if
any change is made substantially pro rata as to all classes of service, no hearing shall
be required. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the sale of bottled water.
(b) If any rates or charges established pursuant to this section are not paid within thirty days after the due date, demand for such rates or charges may be made on the owner of the premises served in the manner provided in subsection (a) of section 12-155, and thereafter an alias tax warrant may be issued in the manner provided in sections 12-135 and 12-162. The rates or charges established pursuant to this section, if not paid when due, shall constitute a lien upon the premises served and a charge against the owner thereof, which lien and charge shall bear interest at the same rate as would unpaid taxes. Such a lien not released of record prior to October 1, 1993, shall not continue for more than one year unless the superintendent of the waterworks system has filed a certificate of continuation of the lien in the manner provided under section 12-174 for the continuance of tax liens, and when so continued shall be valid for fifteen years. A lien described in this section shall take precedence over all other liens or encumbrances except taxes and may be foreclosed against the lot or building served in the same manner as a lien for taxes.
(c) Any municipality, by resolution of its legislative body, may assign, for consideration, any and all liens filed by the superintendent of the waterworks system or tax collector to secure unpaid water charges as provided under the provisions of this chapter. The consideration received by the municipality shall be negotiated between the municipality and the assignee. The assignee or assignees of such liens shall have and possess the same powers and rights at law or in equity as such municipality and municipality's tax collector would have had if the lien had not been assigned with regard to the precedence and priority of such lien, the accrual of interest and the fees and expenses of collection. The assignee shall have the same rights to enforce such liens as any private party holding a lien on real property, including, but not limited to, foreclosure and a suit on the debt. Costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the assignee as a result of any foreclosure action or other legal proceeding brought pursuant to this section and directly related to the proceeding shall be taxed in any such proceeding against each person having title to any property subject to the proceedings. Such costs and fees may be collected by the assignee at any time after demand for payment has been made by the assignee.
(d) The amount of any such rate or charge which remains due and unpaid for thirty days may, with reasonable attorneys' fees, be recovered by the legislative body in a civil action in the name of the municipality against such owners. The municipality shall be subject to the same rates or charges under the same conditions as other users of such waterworks system.
(1949 Rev., S. 758; P.A. 93-349, S. 2; P.A. 95-353, S. 2, 7; P.A. 99-188, S. 2; 99-283, S. 1, 10; P.A. 07-95, S. 1.)
History: P.A. 93-349 added provisions regarding certificate of continuance and continued lien being valid for 15 years; P.A. 95-353 divided section into Subsecs., amended Subsec. (b) to specify that liens not released before October 1, 1993, shall not continue for more than 1 year and made technical changes, effective July 13, 1995; P.A. 99-188 amended Subsec. (a) by exempting sales of bottled water from provisions of the section; P.A. 99-283 added new Subsec. (c) providing for assignment of liens and relettered existing Subsec. (c) as (d), effective July 1, 1999; P.A. 07-95 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provisions re demand for unpaid rates or charges and issuance of an alias tax warrant and by making a technical change, effective July 1, 2007.
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