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On February 16, 2021, the Moscow City Council adopted Resolution 2021-01 which approved a process change for establishing utility accounts with the City. To address non-payment of utilities and the associated impact on the cost of service for all users, a change in process is required to include a more formal contract of service between the City and its utility customers. This change applies to ALL City utility account holders.
We appreciate your patience with this necessary process update. The City of Moscow has worked to address property owner/tenant billing for many years, with the Moscow Code reflecting the intention to work directly with property owners for more than forty years. The City has implemented a new financial software, so addressing this discrepancy while reestablishing accounts in the new program makes sense.
The new process makes property owners ultimately responsible for services consumed at their properties. An analysis of the previous billing structure showed that over $40,000 annually was lost due to delinquent accounts. An Idaho Supreme Court ruling (City of Grangeville v. Haskin) dictates that a more formal agreement be established for utility services. Moscow City Code (5-4-4) provides the basis for requiring property owners to be responsible for utility bills, regardless of the person residing at the property.
To comply with the case law requirements and meet the provisions in the Council action, property owners must complete the attached agreement to maintain their utility account with the City. This revised process provides clarity and efficiency as we work with property owners to avoid past due and unpaid bills. By implementing this agreement with all property owners, the City will proactively address these unpaid bills and significantly reduce the impacts of unpaid bills on all customers.
The City has two types of utility billing account holders: owner-occupied property owners and tenant-occupied property owners/managers. Each is required to complete a Property Owner Application. This form states that the property owner requests service, acknowledges they are liable for account balances for service, and that any unpaid balance is ultimately the property owner's responsibility. For property owners with tenants, this form requires that the property owner take responsibility for any unpaid balances when a tenant moves out.
A second form, the Tenant Utility Billing Directive, is provided for property owners/managers who would like to have the City make payment arrangements directly with their tenants. This form provides permission for the City of Moscow to bill the tenant directly. A new Tenant Utility Billing Directive is required for each new tenant.
This change is effective immediately. In situations where the tenant, not the property owner, initiated service, the City will continue to work to collect unpaid balances from the tenant. We will not hold the property owner financially responsible for unpaid balances prior to this change.
Property Owner Application:
Tenant Utility Billing Directive:
Submitted Property Owner Applications received will be noted immediately. City staff will follow up directly and work with property owners and account holders who have not completed the required form by March 31.