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The State passed a law in 2004 requiring cities to install meters on all properties. The City does not have the option to continue the flat-rate system. Nearly 3,000 Lodi households who already have meters installed began paying a usage-based water bill in January as required by law.
The City of Lodi’s database of property owners came from records obtained from the San Joaquin County Assessor’s Office. If you no longer own the property, please contact the Finance Division at 209-333-6719.
Contact the Public Works Department at 209-333-6706 and we will research your property. If your home was built after 1992, you most likely already paid for your meter.
The City has no intention of collecting money from those property owners who have already paid. Most likely the bill is an error due to the lack of an electronic record of your payment. Please provide proof of payment or, if you do not have that, your address and parcel number to the Public Works Department so we can research other City files.
The meter bills were sent with a separate voucher and account number to return with the payment to ensure the property receives the appropriate credit. If you paid with your utility bill, contact the Finance Division 209-333-6717 with the account number of your monthly utility bill so the City can make the necessary adjustment to your account.
Bills were sent to residential properties within the City limits, including those that are vacant lots or recently annexed and do not yet have City water or sewer hookups. You are not required to pay at this time. Please contact the Public Works Department at 209-333-6706 so that you are not improperly billed after July 1.
The City is installing one meter per parcel on residential properties of up to four dwellings (five units and more will be addressed in the future). The property owner will receive the master water bill. At that point, it is the property owner’s option to hire a licensed plumbing contractor to install additional water meters at the owner’s expense in accordance with City standards. The City will read up to four meters per parcel and bill the customers separately. In addition to purchasing an approved meter from the City, a plumber will likely charge you between $1,000 and $2,000 for the modifications needed to accommodate additional meters.
Yes, the amount of your payment will be credited toward your balance. Your monthly statement will reflect the additional payment and the remaining balance of the meter charge. Partial payments may also be made before July 1. Remaining balances will be billed at an $8.52 per month minimum until paid in full. You must pay at least the minimum each month.
No, because we need to be fair to everyone who received a water meter bill and the billing system was structured to keep the cost as low as possible. No payment terms are available at this time.
No, and be sure to contact the Public Works Department at 209-333-6706 so you aren’t billed on a monthly basis starting in July. The installation program involves installing meters on residential parcels that have City water service. In this case, the meter installation and payment can be deferred until the property is improved.
It’s to ensure the meter charge is fairly collected, with each parcel owner responsible for his or her meter to meet the State mandate. The lien will be removed once the balance is paid in full. There is no additional charge to the property owner for the liens. Without the lien, the City can not enforce payment if a property owner decides to put the financial burden of the program on other utility customers. California Government Code Section 54354 gives water agencies such as the City the ability to use liens to ensure payment for construction related to specific properties.
The property lien will be recorded with the San Joaquin County Recorder’s Office. The Recorder does not report liens to credit reporting agencies. That is not a guarantee, however, that a third party would not report the lien to a credit reporting agency.
The City’s water funds come from water bills. The City Council made the decision that property owners should be responsible for their meters, and to not increase water rates to pay for the meter program. Lodi is not unique in this decision. Rates and payments made to the water fund are only used to cover water utility expenses and do not support other City programs. The utility funds are being used to provide new service lines to homes where needed.
The City has been developing a water meter program for several years in response to the State’s 2004 legislation. The developments have received significant attention in local newspapers, the City has mailed three newsletters to the community regarding the meter program in the past year and, earlier this year, a Proposition 218 notice was mailed to all property owners to notify them of their right to protest the charge. Only 2% protested and the charge was approved by the City Council on March 16 in a public meeting.
A map showing the year of installation in your neighborhood was mailed to residents in late 2010 and is available online. A schedule of the installations will be made available on the website, and construction crews installing the meters will leave notices at each residence at least 48 hours before work commences.
No, one master meter will be installed on each parcel. If you choose, you may hire a licensed plumbing contractor to install a second meter at your expense.
Collecting money now for the meters will save you money in the long run. It avoids a general water rate increase and it allows the water utility to get the best price on water meters by buying in the largest quantities feasible. One-time billing reduces the utility’s costs for billing and tracking the list of those property owners who have and haven’t paid. Expanding the program from a three-year timeframe to seven years is allowing the City to reduce the installation cost from as much as $1,200 to a cap of $300.
Yes, at an annual rate of 1.5%. The monthly payments come out to $306.72, or $6.72 of interest.
No, because the up-front payment is allowing the City to reduce your meter cost to $300, rather than a higher amount.
If your meter was installed prior to 2010, you are paying a metered rate already. If your meter is scheduled for installation in 2011, you will continue paying a flat rate until January 2013. Your bill will include your water usage, however, showing you what your usage-based bill would be if the metered rate was in effect. This information will help you identify water leaks or change your water-use habits if you desire. Residents receiving meters in 2012 will pay a metered charge beginning in January 2014, those receiving meters in 2013 will pay a metered charge beginning in January 2015, etc.
The meter charge is the property owner’s responsibility. If the property owner does not pay the $300 charge by the end of June, the owner will be billed the monthly amount of $8.52 for three years. If there is an ownership change after July 1, the full balance becomes due.
With nearly 13,000 water meters scheduled for installation between 2011 and 2017, the City expects there will be some instances in which the owner of a property needing a meter fails to receive a bill. When the meters are installed, the contractor will link the meter number to the address and provide it to the City to establish usage-based billing. At that time, the City will be alerted to those properties without a record of payment. Billing for those meters will be addressed at that time.