The village council unanimously approved legislation, on Monday, that will add delinquent utility bills to a homeowner’s property taxes.
The resolution will allow the village to collect $$7,268.46 in unpaid utility bills from four homeowners whose bills date back to 2006.
The village will mail a certified letter to these homeowners giving them a final opportunity to pay before adding the amount to their tax bills. If they don’t pay before delinquent amount is added to their property taxes, the money will be collected by the county auditor, along with a 10 percent assessment fee, in two installments.
“This (the resolution) will take effect immediately,” said Yellow Springs Council President Karen Wintrow.
The village will receive half of $726.84 in assessment fees that will be billed to the homeowners. The county auditor will receive the other half.
“If they pay it before we assess it, they don’t have to pay the 10 percent,” said Yellow Springs Village Manager Patti Bates.
Delinquent utility payments could lead to increased utility rates for all village residents, Bates said at a previous meeting.
Delinquent utility accounts, including water, sewer and solid waste, result in an estimated $22,000 annual revenue loss to village, according to village documents. Over an eight-year period starting in 2006, these delinquent accounts totaled $190,088.33, according to village data.
Overall, past due utility accounts associated with owner-occupied homes account for a small percentage of village residents with delinquent utility accounts, according to village data.
Most the delinquent accounts, about 75 percent, belong to renters who move out of the area.
In a report, Yellow Springs Village Manager Melissa Vanzant, attributed the delinquent accounts to deaths, foreclosures, bankruptcies, abandoned homes, contractors using temporary utilities who leave town and renters who move out of town leaving balances on their accounts.
The legislation is one of several measures the council is considering to collect unpaid utility bills.
In addition to adding the delinquent bills to a homeowner’s tax bill, Vanzant has also suggested the village require all utilities customers to pay a deposit.
Currently, village homeowners are exempted from paying a utility deposit. She also suggested the village keep utility deposits until a customer pays the final bill instead of the current practice of returning the deposit to the customer after two years.