Policy 7

Dues and assessments

Preamble:
In 1971 the LISECC Board of Directors first began to collect past due dues and assessments as required by the Articles of Incorporation. By 1975 a policy had been established for collection of such dues. Some figures have been modified from time to time to keep them current with the costs of administration. This is a clarification of that policy. Any inconsistencies in wording or intent reflected in this policy, and the underlying action approved by the Board on a particular subject or matter addressed herein, the Board’s actual action and intent as reflected in approved Board meeting minutes shall control. 

References:
Part 4 of our bylaws, which only the membership can change, are cited as the Board's authority. Please read bylaws 4.2.1.5., 4.2.3.5., 4.4.2.9., and all of Section 4.5.

Notifications

It is the responsibility of the LISECC member to provide current contact/billing information to the LISECC administrative office. All notifications will be sent to the owner of record at the address of record as required by the bylaws via regular mail or by certified mail where specified herein.

Charges

Following are the various charges a member may accrue per billable lot. All charges are due and payable within thirty (30) days of invoice and become delinquent thereafter.

A.  Annual dues

All dues paying members will pay annual dues which cover the period of January 1 to December 31 of each year and are billed as of January 1. The bylaws (4.5.1.3) specify that dues are due on a semi-annual basis, with the first half due on January 1 and becoming delinquent on the 1st of February. The second half is due on June 1, becoming delinquent on the 1st of July.

  1. Members have the right to prepay their annual dues.
  2. As a courtesy and budgeting convenience to members who maintain a current account status, LISECC offers a monthly payment plan. LISECC will issue monthly payment coupons to qualifying members in January.
  3. In the event that a member (who initially qualified for and chose to use a monthly payment plan) becomes 30 days delinquent, their account will revert to a semi-annual payment schedule as specified by section 4.5.1.3. of the bylaws

B. Loan fee

All dues paying members will pay their prorated share of the current year’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan (DWSRF). This loan fee will cover the period of January 1 to December 31 of each year and will be billed as of January 1.

  1. Members may make an annual, semi-annual payment, or monthly payments under the same terms and conditions established in Policy 7, Section A.
  2. Members will have the option of paying their share of the DWSRF loan debt in full at any point during the 20-year loan term. The payoff terms will be calculated by the LISECC Office Manager  and are subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

C. Water readiness to serve (RTS) fee

Members with a water connection are charged an annual water hook-up or RTS fee based on the lowest tier of water usage (zero gallons per month). This RTS fee will cover the period of January 1 to December 31 of each year and will be billed on a prorated basis with each supplemental water usage invoice. This means that LISE will invoice for RTS even if there is no water usage during any particular period. 

D.  Water usage

Supplemental invoices reflecting water usage, including the prorated base RTS rate, will be issued every two (2) months and will be due and payable within 30 days following the date of invoice. 

E.  Special assessments

In the event that the membership approves a special assessment, an invoice for the amount will be issued on every LISECC lot (dues relief for bound lots does not apply to special assessments). These charges are due and payable within 30 days following the date of invoice (unless otherwise specified in the membership vote for special assessment) and become delinquent thereafter.

F. Payment priority on accounts

To maintain uniformity in how members are treated, LISECC will apply payments received to the oldest outstanding balance on delinquent accounts without regard to member requests to the contrary. Prepayments on current accounts will be applied on a pro rata basis to the charges as billed.

G.  Late charges

If a full payment for invoiced dues, loan, and RTS fee as applicable (annual, semi-annual payment, or monthly payment under the same terms and conditions established in Policy 7, Section A.) is not received by LISECC by January 31, the account will become delinquent and a $25 late charge will be assessed. A $25 late charge will be assessed on all delinquent accounts on July 1st. A $50 late charge will be assessed on all delinquent accounts on December 31st.

H.  Interest Charges

In addition to late charges, all past due accounts (i.e. over 30 days late) will be assessed interest on unpaid balances, according to the semi-annual payment schedule, at the rate of 10% annually (0.83% compounded monthly).

I.  Miscellaneous charges

Miscellaneous charges may occur from time to time and include such items as contracted services between the member and LISECC such as the cost of a water service installation. Other costs can be the result of services rendered to abate a problem on the member’s private property (4.4.2.9), for services actually supplied or rendered (4.5.2.1), and from fines, penalties and special assessments. These charges are due and payable within 30 days following the date of invoice and become delinquent thereafter.

Delinquent accounts

Accounts having delinquent balances (whether for dues, loan fees, RTS fees, supplemental water usage fees, special assessments, late charges and interest, and or miscellaneous charges) shall be subject to additional penalties and consequences.

A.  Water service disconnection

LISECC may disconnect water service from any lot that has an account balance delinquent for more than 60 days. Water service will only be disconnected at the direction of the Board of Directors, and only thirty (30) days after a Water Service Disconnection Notice has been mailed by certified mail to the owner of the lot. A $150 disconnect fee will be charged for any water service disconnection.

B. Water service reconnection

A $150 reconnect fee will be charged for any water service reconnection. The member is also responsible for any additional cost related to reconnecting water service to their property resulting from the member’s actions such as damage to the shut off valve or LISECC actions necessary to mitigate entrance of contaminants into LISECC water system. To reconnect water service, the member must pay the delinquent balance in full (including late charges, interest, costs of collection, attorney fees, judgements, reconnection fees) by cashier’s check in U.S. funds. Once paid, every attempt will be made to reconnect the service within 5 business days. However, there may be instances when unpredictable or unavoidable circumstances may extend the reconnection time.

C.  Liening of lot

LISECC may file a lien against any lot that has an account balance delinquent for more than 60 days and in an amount equal to or greater than two months total of dues plus DWSRF loan fee. LISECC will mail a Lien Warning Notice by certified mail to the owner of the lot, giving thirty (30) days (from the date of the postmark) to bring the account current. Any account remaining delinquent after thirty (30) days will be placed with LISECC’s legal counsel for lien processing and collection.

D. Repayment plan proposal

Notifications regarding water service disconnection and/or lien warning shall include a notice to the lot owner/member that he (she) may present, in writing, a repayment plan proposal to the LISSECC Board of Directors for approval. Payment plan proposals should follow the format specified in Part 7, Policy Statement 19. Payment schedules agreed to in writing between the Board and a member must be made on time. Failure to make the payments as promised will trigger nullification of the repayment plan agreement and LISECC will resume processing the water service disconnection and or lien filing without further delay.

E. Lien foreclosure

Following the filing of a lien per Policy 7, LISECC legal counsel may proceed to foreclose the lien. LISECC legal counsel will send notification to the owner of the lot via certified mail indicating that the account has been received for collection. The letter will identify all additional fees and costs for which the owner will become liable as a consequence of the placement of the lien. Foreclosure can result in the lot being sold at a public auction.
PROVIDED HOWEVER, no legal action to foreclose on a lien shall be commenced to foreclose on a lien except upon the expiration of four months from and after the mailing of notice/billing of the charge which is delinquent. FURTHER, no foreclosure proceedings shall be commenced related to charges for which a member is making monthly payments (i.e.: member is current in paying dues on a monthly basis) or which are covered under a board approved payment plan as long as the member is in full compliance with said payment plan.

F. Special action

Any lot owner who fails to pay his (her) Whatcom County property taxes for a period of three years will trigger a foreclosure by the Whatcom County Treasurer in the fall of the third year. When this occurs, LISECC may immediately place a lien on the property for the current dues year if unpaid. LISECC may elect to pay such property taxes and acquire a tax lien against the lot to prevent foreclosure by Whatcom County.

Member responsibilities

NOT WITHSTANDING any provisions herein relative to LISECC invoicing or billing members, all members are responsible for paying all charges on time as spelled out in the Bylaws (i.e.: dues are due January 1st and July 1st) and all special assessments and other charges that are due and payable by a date certain (i.e.: the date specified in a special assessment), regardless of whether they are sent an invoice or billing statement for such charges, it being the member’s ultimate responsibility to make sure that their account is current. FURTHER, if a member wishes to change the method of payment (i.e. from monthly to semi-annual, etc.) it is the member’s responsibility to notify the LISECC Bookkeeper in writing to ensure that the member’s account is credited accordingly.

Effective 18 April 1993, revised 11 January 1998, 11 June 2000, 13 January 2001, 16 June 2002, 5 December 2004, 19 February 2006, 18 November 2007, 20 July 2008, 21 February 2010, 12 December 2010, 28 August 2011, 15 January 2012, 20 November 2016, and 17 December 2017, by Board Approval.