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    14.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 05/21/2019  
Subject:    Open Mic Response - Mr. Benard Schatz
Submitted For: Matt Stemwedel From: Joan Lenzmeier, City Clerk

INTRODUCTION
Mr. Benard Schatz of 11817 Wren Street appeared before Council to discuss an increase to his quarterly water bill.
DISCUSSION
Mr. Benard Schatz spoke at the Open Mic portion of the May 7, 2019 City Council meeting. Mr. Schatz requested the City Council reverse an increase in his quarterly utility bill that was related to the City's senior discount program.  Mr. Schatz had been receiving the $16.00 quarterly discount on his utility bill; however, after a verification process it was determined by City staff the he didn't qualify for this discount as he didn't meet the age requirement.

By way of background, the senior discount program was established by City ordinance in 1995 and was intended to provide a 50% discount to seniors on their sanitary sewer charge.  This program was modified in 1997 to reduce the discount to 35% for those seniors who qualified after December 1, 1997.  The approach the City took toward billing sewer changed in 2012 to include a minimum charge for all residents plus an additional charge based on usage.  The senior discount program was eliminate except for those who were grandfathered into the program (those born in 1935 or before).  For those who remained eligible, a discount was applied to the water portion of their bill because the City's billing software didn't allow for a discount to be applied under the new sewer rate structure.

Subsequent to those changes, the City has attempted to verify eligibility for the senior discount every two years.  The verification process was conducted toward the end of 2018 and involved sending letters over 372 accounts that were still noted as receiving the discount.  As a part of this process, those who applied for the discount were asked to submit an application and to provide proof of their age in order to determine eligibility.  As a result, there are currently 177 accounts that continue to receive the $16.00 discount.
 
RECOMMENDATION
This item is provided for information purposes only at this time. If directed, staff can provide the City Council with additional information about our utility rate structure and the history of the senior discount.

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