North Judson Town Attorney Explains Impact of HEA 1347

The North Judson Town Council will be required to repeal an ordinance passed in January following a change to state legislation.

When the town council met last Monday, Town Attorney Justin Schramm presented members with a repealing ordinance and mentioned which existing Town policy House Enrolled Act 1347 will impact.

He explained, “It’s the ordinance pertaining to property owner liability for utility delinquencies. A month after we passed the legislature stepped in and passed HEA 1347 effectively making it impossible for us to compel property owners to put utility services in their name.

Schramm indicated that the state statute only addresses electricity, water and gas utilities

He said, “There is an exemption there; we can still do that with regard to wastewater.”

Schramm continued, “so you’ll see on that in that ordinance I say specifically that even though we are repealing the ordinance, that doesn’t stop our clerk-treasurer from adopting a policy to do something different with wastewater.”

The Town Attorney said that he attended a seminar put on by the law firm ICE Miller where they addressed the matter. To protect themselves from potentially unpaid utility bills, Schramm said municipalities are permitted to require a higher monthly deposit from tenants who could be considered high-risk financially speaking. 

He stated, “They seem to say that two full months deposit is reasonable if somebody doesn’t have a least 24 months of established credit history with the town specifically or if they have bad credit history.”

Schramm mentioned that the repealing ordinance was only up for consideration during the member’s first meeting in July since the full council was not in attendance and they didn’t have enough members to pass it on first reading.

It will be readdressed when members meet next on Monday, July 15th.