PART VI. IMPOSITION OF RATES, FEES OR CHARGES.
§8-16-18. Rates, fees or charges for services rendered by works.
The governing body shall have plenary power and authority and it shall be its duty, by ordinance, to establish and maintain just and equitable rates, fees or charges for the use and services rendered, or the improvement or protection of property, not to include highways, road and drainage easements, and/or stormwater facilities constructed, owned and/or operated by the West Virginia Division of Highways, provided or afforded, by such works, to be paid by the person using the same, receiving the services thereof, or owning the property improved or protected thereby, and may readjust rates, fees or charges from time to time.
When two or more municipalities take joint action under the provisions of this article, the rates, fees or charges shall be established by each participating municipality, with the concurrence of the other participating municipality or municipalities as to the amount of the rates, fees or charges, and such rates, fees or charges may be the same with respect to each municipality, or they may be different.
Rates, fees or charges heretofore or hereafter established and maintained for the improvement or protection of property, not to include highways, road and drainage easements, and/or stormwater facilities constructed, owned and/or operated by the West Virginia Division of Highways, provided or afforded by a municipal flood control system or flood walls, to be paid by the person owning the property improved or protected thereby, shall be collectible and enforceable from the time provided in any such ordinance, any provision of this or any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, if, at such time, such works, though not yet fully completed, are nearing completion and the governing body is reasonably assured that the works will be completed and placed in operation without unreasonable delay.
All rates, fees or charges shall be sufficient in each year for the payment of the proper and reasonable expenses of repair (including replacements), maintenance and operation of the works, and for the payment of the sums herein required to be paid into the sinking fund. Revenues collected pursuant to the provisions of this section are considered the revenues of the works. No such rates, fees or charges shall be established until after a public hearing at which all the users of the works and owners of the property served, or to be served thereby, and others interested, shall have an opportunity to be heard concerning the proposed rates, fees or charges.
After introduction of the proposed ordinance fixing the rates, fees or charges and before the same is finally adopted, notice of such hearing, setting forth the proposed schedule of such rates, fees or charges, shall be given by publishing the same as a Class I-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for the publication shall be such municipality or each such municipality, as the case may be. Said notice shall be published at least five days before the date fixed in such notice for the hearing, which hearing may be adjourned from time to time. No other or further notice to parties in interest shall be required.
After such hearing the ordinance establishing rates, fees or charges, either as originally proposed or introduced, or as modified and amended, shall be adopted and put into effect. A copy of the schedule of such rates, fees and charges so established shall be kept on file in the office of the board having charge of such works, and also in the office of the governing body or bodies, and shall be open to inspection by all parties in interest.
The rates, fees or charges so established for any class of users or property served shall be extended to cover any additional class of users or property thereafter served which fall within the same class, without the necessity of any hearing or notice. Any change or adjustment of rates, fees or charges may be made in the same manner as such rates, fees or charges were originally established as provided in this section. The aggregate of the rates, fees or charges shall always be sufficient for the expenses of repair (including replacements), maintenance and operation, and for the sinking fund payments.
If any rate, fee or charge so established shall not be paid within thirty days after the same is due, the amount thereof, together with a penalty of ten percent and reasonable attorney's fees, may be recovered by the board in a civil action in the name of the municipality or municipalities, and in the case of rates, fees or charges due for services rendered, such rates, fees or charges, if not paid when due, may, if the governing body so provide in the ordinance provided for under section seven of this article, constitute a lien upon the premises served by such works, which lien may be foreclosed against such lot, parcel of land or building so served, in accordance with the laws relating to the foreclosure of liens on real property. Upon failure of any person receiving any such service to pay for the same when due, the board may discontinue such service without notice.