One of the justifications suggested by some for using the discontinuance of water service on the septic program is the statement that the City already requires residents to have garbage collection service under threat of discontinuance of water service. It is important to note that the City has never suggested that the rules that pertain to garbage service apply to the proposed septic tank ordinance.
The City requires residents where they have jurisdiction over garbage service, that’s within the city limits to have a minimum level of garbage service. They have used the threat of discontinuance of water service to enforce this rule. The City has not imposed any rule requiring the collection of garbage on residents where they have no jurisdiction over garbage service, that’s outside the city limits.
The Lincoln City Municipal Code (LCMC) defines rules for solid waste in Chapter 8.16 which was last modified by Ordnance 2003-19. Section 18.16.060 states “The owner and/or occupant of any dwelling or other property within the city shall subscribe to and pay for service rendered to the dwelling or property.” Service must be obtained within seven days of occupancy and the property is considered occupied if the property is hooked up to city water and is receiving water service.
According to the LCMC, “If the property owner or occupant fails to subscribe to service within 30 days of the date of the notice from the city of the requirement for service, the city may terminate water service to the property pursuant to LCMC 8.16.080”. Violation of this provision is also considered a Class D civil infraction, punishable in accordance with the provisions of LCMC Chapter 1.16.
Section 8.16.080 of the LCMC defines the process used to disconnect the service; which involves notice, the right to an administrative hearing and appeal. Additionally, there are provisions in under 8.16.110 and 8.16.120 for residential service to be reduced below the required minimum of once every two weeks. Justification for appeal by residents include self disposal, recycling, composting or other environmentally accepted methods of disposal.
In both memos drafted by the Lincoln City Manager the justification for using water shut off is not related to LCMC Chapter 8.16. The justification given is LCMC Section 13.12.050 B 2. “Except where service is required by written agreement, all water delivered outside the city limits shall be considered as a special service and not provided by the city as a common utility service. The city may reduce the quantity of water supplied by the service or entirely discontinue the service at any time, on a temporary or permanent basis, and by area or areas or by customer or classes of customers, in accord with such policies as the city may establish from time to time by ordinance or resolution adopted by the city council. The utility shall have no liability in any way to customers for failure to provide service or for any failure of the system.”