13.05.210 Dispute resolution.
(1) At any time before the date of termination of water service for nonpayment of the amount shown on a utility bill or notice of termination, a customer may dispute the correctness of all or part of the amount shown in accordance with the provisions of this section. A customer shall not be entitled to dispute the correctness of all or part of the amount if all or part of the amount was the subject of a previous dispute under this section.
(2) The procedure for customer disputes shall be as follows:
(a) Before the date of termination, the customer shall notify the city clerk’s office in writing that the customer disputes all or part of the amount shown on a water/sewer/utility bill or a notice of termination, stating as completely as possible the basis for the dispute.
(b) If the city clerk, or the clerk’s designee, determines that the present dispute is untimely or that the customer previously disputed the correctness of all or part of the amount shown, the clerk’s office shall mail to the customer a notice stating that the present dispute is untimely or invalid. The city shall then proceed as if the customer had not notified the city of the present dispute.
(c) If the city clerk determines that the present dispute is not untimely or invalid under this section, the city, within seven days after receipt of the customer’s notice, shall arrange an informal meeting between the customer and the clerk.
(d) Based on the city’s records, the customer’s allegations, and all other relevant materials available to the clerk, the clerk shall resolve the dispute, attempting to do so in a manner satisfactory to both the city and the customer.
(e) Within seven days of completion of the meeting, the clerk shall mail to the customer a copy of its decision resolving the dispute.
(f) That decision shall be final and binding on the customer.
(3) Utilization of this dispute procedure shall not relieve a customer of his or her obligation to timely and completely pay all other undisputed charges and any undisputed portion of the amount which is the subject of the present dispute. Notwithstanding this section, failure to timely and completely pay all such undisputed amounts shall subject the customer to termination of water service in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(4) Until the date of the decision of the city clerk, the city shall not terminate the water service of this customer and shall not issue a notice of termination to this customer solely for nonpayment of the disputed amount. If it is determined that the customer must pay some or the entire disputed amount, the city shall promptly mail to or personally serve upon the customer a notice of termination, following the procedure set forth in ECMC 13.05.150. (Ord. 551 § 1, 2019; Ord. 364 § 62, 2005; Ord. 278, 1989)