PA 18-174—sHB 5509
Planning and Development Committee
AN ACT CONCERNING WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AUTHORITIES
SUMMARY: Beginning July 1, 2018, this act prohibits a water pollution control authority (WPCA) or its representative from instituting a lien foreclosure action for one year after it is filed. (Presumably, meaning that it stays a foreclosure action for one year after the action's filing.)
The act also requires each municipality with a population of at least 100,000 and that is served by a private water company regulated by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to adopt an ordinance to:
1. lower the interest rate the municipality charges on delinquent sewer assessments;
2. restrict WPCA assignees from purchasing foreclosed properties;
3. establish financial guidelines for triggering foreclosure due to fee nonpayment; and
4. protect seniors, veterans, and low-income families from WPCA foreclosures by restricting “accelerated foreclosure” proceedings for delinquent sewer fees.
The ordinance adoption requirement applies to towns, cities, consolidated towns and cities, and consolidated towns and boroughs meeting the population threshold, regardless of any conflicting statute, special act, or municipal ordinance or charter.
The act also requires PURA to establish a program, by January 1, 2019, regulating WPCA charges, assessments, and lien processes in such municipalities.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018
PURA PROGRAM REGULATING WPCAS
Regardless of conflicting statutes, special acts, or municipal charters or ordinances, the act requires PURA to establish a program, by January 1, 2019, to regulate WPCAs located in municipalities with a population of at least 100,000 and that are served by a PURA-regulated private water company. The program must regulate the WPCA's charges, assessments, and lien processes, including foreclosures.
To offset the cost of establishing and administering the program, the act requires PURA to direct each WPCA or private water company regulated by the program to collect and remit to PURA an annual $4 surcharge from each of its customers.
Within two years of establishing the program, the energy and environmental protection commissioner must submit a report to the Planning and Development, Environment, and Energy and Technology committees detailing (1) the program's status and (2) any recommendations for legislation to facilitate or expand the program.