Why is the City considering the change in billing procedures to collect the sewer service charges through the County tax roll?

The City currently bills customers via a combined bi-monthly utility bill that includes water and sewer service charges and solid waste charges.  This results in a single large bill that customers pay once every two months.  The typical single family residential monthly sewer charges are $94.12.  Billing through the County property tax roll is anticipated to provide many benefits to both ratepayers and the sewer enterprise fund, including:


  • As the collector of general taxes, the County of San Mateo guarantees payment for any charges collected on the tax roll. San Mateo County is on the Teeter Plan under which the City would typically receive 100% of sewer billings regardless of property tax payment delinquencies. This revenue would be paid from the County to the City in installments throughout the fiscal year.  The County will handle any necessary assessment of penalties in the event of nonpayment. Therefore, the City will receive a more stable and guaranteed revenue source for its sewer enterprise.  This guarantee of payment allows staff to project sewer enterprise fund revenue with more accuracy and plan for future expenditures required to maintain the City’s sewer collection system. 
  • It would also remove the administrative burden of billing and collections from the City. The billing change will result in a reduction in processing costs. This will help rebalance the workload of the City’s already burdened Finance Department by freeing up staff time from responding to customer billing inquiries and processing payments, as well as bill collection activities.  Reducing staff time required for this activity is an example of improved and more efficient service delivery, allowing staff to focus on higher-priority accounts payable and purchasing activities instead of processing billing.  Finance staff will still be involved in the sewer service charges process to prepare annual rate adjustments, execute an agreement with the County for collection of special charges, and to oversee the preparation and provision of the annual required Property Tax Written Report to the County.

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1. Why is the City considering the change in billing procedures to collect the sewer service charges through the County tax roll?
2. What is the timing for this potential change in who bills for the sewer service charges?
3. Are there other agencies that currently bill sewer service charges through the County tax roll?
4. Which sewer customers will have sewer service charges collected on the County tax roll?
5. What is the timeline for this process?
6. Who would be responsible for paying the sewer service charges on the tax roll?
7. What if I am a tenant and the current customer on record?
8. How will I pay my bill if my sewer service charge is collected through the tax roll?
9. If my sewer charges are collected on the tax roll, when will my payment be due?
10. Will this change increase my current sewer service rates
11. Will the charges be tax deductible?
12. Will I still be receiving a bill from the City for my water service?
13. Will my property tax increase?
14. Will low-income customers still be eligible for a 25% discount?
15. What happens if you miss the payment deadlines?