Together, we do the community justice.
       
 
Loading

ABLE:
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on Facebook Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on Twitter Advocates for Basic Legal Equality on LinkedIn

LAWO:
LAWO on Facebook LAWO on Twitter LAWO on LinkedIn


Rules regulate water shutoffs


JULY 11, 2010

Rules regulate water shutoffs
Judge cites 20-year-old pact

The following article was published July 2, 2010 in The Toledo Blade. Read the story below, or view on The Blade's website.

Any regulations implemented by the city of Toledo's water department must be consistent with an agreement put in place nearly two decades ago - including the notification of homeowners before their water is shut off, a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge recently ruled.

Visiting Judge Steven Yarbrough's order, released earlier this week, effectively halts some new administrative regulations that the water department had intended to implement. Instead, the regulations outlined in a 1992 consent judgment agreed upon in court will continue in effect.

Attorney George Thomas from Legal Aid of Western Ohio said the ruling was in response to a recent filing by the agency on behalf of a man whose water was turned off without notice. He added that the judge's decision will keep Toledo's obligations status quo.
 

JULY 11, 2010

Rules regulate water shutoffs
Judge cites 20-year-old pact

The following article was published July 2, 2010 in The Toledo Blade. Read the story below, or view on The Blade's website.

Any regulations implemented by the city of Toledo's water department must be consistent with an agreement put in place nearly two decades ago - including the notification of homeowners before their water is shut off, a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge recently ruled.

Visiting Judge Steven Yarbrough's order, released earlier this week, effectively halts some new administrative regulations that the water department had intended to implement. Instead, the regulations outlined in a 1992 consent judgment agreed upon in court will continue in effect.

Attorney George Thomas from Legal Aid of Western Ohio said the ruling was in response to a recent filing by the agency on behalf of a man whose water was turned off without notice. He added that the judge's decision will keep Toledo's obligations status quo.

"It was seeking to change its rules," he said of the water department.

Toledo Municipal Code doesn't allow tenants to contract for water services but requires water services be in the homeowner's name. The practice meant there were instances when tenants were being denied water because of the actions of the homeowner.

In 1992, as the result of a lawsuit filed four years earlier, the city and plaintiffs reached an agreement that not only required the notifications of residents if their water was to be shut off but also created options for tenants who lived in a residence where the homeowners weren't contracting water services.
"The City of Toledo and plaintiffs agreed to a system which tenants and other occupants would have a right to a notice before service shut off, and they were also provided with options for tenants," Mr. Thomas said. "... About 30 days ago, the city decided to issue new administrative regulations."

Although the city has the right to change their regulations, the judge's ruling means it can't be done in conflict with the consent judgment.

In his order, Judge Yarbrough wrote that "any rules and regulations not consistent with the consent judgment entry are invalid."

Tom Crothers, the city's director of the Department of Public Utilities, said the city would comply with the court order. "While we are disappointed in the court's ruling, naturally we will comply as we review our options," he said.

Also regarding the city water department, Mayor Mike Bell last month said his administration would cut back on the practice of placing liens on properties because of delinquent utility bills from a previous homeowner.

Mr. Crothers, however, said the city would not completely stop the process of placing liens on properties for delinquent bills from previous owners, which he maintains is legal.

The mayor also said people who don't pay their water bills, and who don't try to get on a payment plan for an unpaid bill, would have the service shut off after seven weeks.

City Council voted April 13 to put more collection firms to work to bring in $18.7 million in water and sewer bills.