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the municipal sewer system; or
(2) uses or is served by the works.
Unless the municipal legislative body finds otherwise, the works are considered to benefit every lot, parcel of real property, or building connected or to be connected with the municipal sewer system as a result of construction work under the contract, and the fees shall be billed and collected accordingly.
(d) The municipal legislative body may use one (1) or more of the following factors to establish the fees:
(1) A flat charge for each sewer connection.
(2) The amount of water used on the property.
(3) The number and size of water outlets on the property.
(4) The amount, strength, or character of sewage discharged into the sewers.
(5) The size of sewer connections.
(6) Whether the property has been or will be required to pay separately for any part of the sewage works.
(7) Whether the property, although vacant or unimproved, is benefited by a local or lateral sewer because of the availability of that sewer. However, the owner must have been notified, by recorded covenants and restrictions or deed restrictions in the chain of title of his property, that a fee or assessment for sewer availability may be charged, and the fee may reflect only the capital cost of the sewer and not the cost of operation and maintenance of the sewage works.
(8) The cost of collecting, treating, and disposing of garbage in a sanitary manner, including equipment and wages.
(9) The amount of money sufficient to compensate the municipality for the property taxes that would be paid on the sewage works if the sewage works were privately owned.
(10) Any other factors the legislative body considers necessary.
Fees collected under subdivision (8) may be spent for that purpose only after compliance with all provisions of the ordinance authorizing the issuance of the revenue bonds for the sewage works. The board may transfer fees collected in lieu of taxes under subdivision (9) to the general fund of the municipality.
(e) The municipal legislative body may exercise reasonable discretion in adopting different schedules of fees, or making classifications in schedules of fees, based on variations in:
(1) the costs, including capital expenditures, of furnishing services to various classes of users or to various locations; or
(2) the number of users in various locations.
However, fees established under this section may be subject to review by the utility regulatory commission under section 26.2 of this chapter.
SECTION 30, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE
JULY 1, 2010]: Sec. 26. (a) After the introduction of the ordinance
establishing fees under section 25 of this chapter, but before it is finally
adopted, the municipal legislative body shall hold a public hearing at
which users of the sewage works, owners of property served or to be
served by the works, and other interested persons may be heard
concerning the proposed fees. Notice of the hearing, setting forth the
proposed schedule of fees, shall be:
(1) published in accordance with IC 5-3-1;
(2) mailed to owners of vacant or unimproved property if the ordinance includes a fee for sewer availability to vacant or unimproved property; and
(3) mailed to users of the sewage works located outside the municipality's corporate boundaries.
The notice may be mailed in any form so long as the notice of the hearing is conspicuous. The hearing may be adjourned from time to time. If the municipal sewer utility has been taken out of the jurisdiction of the utility regulatory commission for the approval of rates and charges, a notice mailed under subdivision (3) must include a statement that, following adoption of the ordinance, users of the sewage works located outside the municipality's corporate boundaries may petition the utility regulatory commission under section 26.2 of this chapter to review and adjust the fees, rates, and charges imposed on the users.
(b) After the hearing, the municipal legislative body shall adopt the ordinance establishing the fees, either as originally introduced or as modified. A copy of the schedule of fees adopted shall be kept on file and available for public inspection in the offices of the board and the municipal clerk. The ordinance must state in plain language the percentage difference between the fees imposed on:
(1) users of the sewage works located outside the corporate boundaries of the municipality; and
(2) users of the sewage works located within the corporate boundaries of the municipality.
(c) Subject to section 37 of this chapter, the fees established for any class of users or property shall be extended to cover any additional property that is subsequently served and falls within the same class, without any hearing or notice.
(d) The municipal legislative body may change or readjust the fees in the same manner by which they were established.
(e) Fees collected under this chapter are considered revenues of the sewage works.
objecting to the rates and charges of the sewage works so long as:
(1) the petition contains the names and addresses of the petitioners;
(2) the petitioners attended the public hearing provided under section 26 of this chapter;
(3) the written petition is filed with the municipal legislative body within five (5) days after the ordinance establishing the rates and charges is adopted under section 26 of this chapter;
(4) the written petition states specifically the ground or grounds of objection; and
(5) if applicable, the petitioners have not filed a petition with the utility regulatory commission under section 26.2 of this chapter appealing the same rates and charges of the sewage works.
(b) Unless the objecting petition is abandoned, the municipal clerk shall file in the office of the clerk of the circuit or superior court of the county a copy of the rate ordinance or ordinances together with the petition. The court shall then set the matter for hearing at the earliest date possible, which must be within twenty (20) days after the filing of the petition with the court. The court shall send notice of the hearing by certified mail to the municipality and to the first signer of the petition at the address shown on the petition. All interested parties shall appear in the court without further notice, and the municipality may not conduct any further proceedings concerning the rates and charges until the matters presented by the petition have been heard and determined by the court.
(c) At the discretion and upon direction of the court, the petitioners shall file with the petition a bond in the sum and with the security fixed by the court. The bond must be conditioned on the petitioners' payment of all or part of the costs of the hearing and any damages awarded to the municipality if the petition is denied, as ordered by the court.
(d) Upon the date fixed in the notice, the court shall, without a jury, hear the evidence produced. The court may confirm the decision of the municipal legislative body or sustain the objecting petition. The order of the court is final and conclusive upon all parties to the proceeding and parties who might have appeared at the hearing, subject only to the right of direct appeal. All questions that were presented or might have been presented are considered to have been adjudicated by the order of the court, and no collateral attack upon the decision of the municipal legislative body or order of the court is permitted.
(e) If the court sustains the petition, or if it is sustained on appeal, the municipal legislative body shall set the rates and charges in accordance with the decision of the court.
municipally owned sewer utility that:
(1) has been taken out of the jurisdiction of the utility regulatory commission for the approval of rates and charges; and
(2) provides sewer service to users located outside the corporate boundaries of the municipality.
(b) If the municipal legislative body adopts an ordinance under section 25 of this chapter that imposes rates and charges on users of the sewage works located outside the corporate boundaries of the municipality that exceed by more than twenty-five percent (25%) the rates and charges imposed on users of the sewage works located within the corporate boundaries of the municipality, either or both of the following may petition the utility regulatory commission to review and adjust, if necessary, the rates and charges imposed on users of the sewage works located outside the corporate boundaries of the municipality:
(1) The municipality.
(2) The lesser of:
(A) ten percent (10%) of; or
(B) twenty-five (25);
users of the sewage works located outside the corporate boundaries of the municipality.
A petition must be filed under this subsection not more than fourteen (14) days after the date on which the ordinance is adopted.
(c) If a petition is filed with the utility regulatory commission under subsection (b), the ordinance adopted under section 25 of this chapter is stayed and the rates and charges in effect before the adoption of the ordinance remain in effect until the utility regulatory commission:
(1) approves or disapproves the petition under subsection (d); and
(2) if applicable, adjusts the rates and charges imposed by the ordinance.
(d) The utility regulatory commission shall prescribe the form and manner of a petition filed under subsection (b). If the utility regulatory commission fails to approve or disapprove a petition within one hundred twenty (120) days after the petition is filed in the form and manner prescribed by the commission, the petition is deemed approved. A petition is automatically disapproved if the petitioner has filed a petition under section 26.1 of this chapter with respect to the same rate ordinance.
(e) If the utility regulatory commission, in response to a petition filed under subsection (b), determines that the rates and charges imposed on users of the sewage works located outside the corporate boundaries of the municipality are not reasonable and just, the utility regulatory commission may: