WATER & SEWER SERVICE
Establishing Utility Service
Depending on your property, Lake Junaluska Public Works offers water, sewer, and garbage service to both residential and commercial customers. Please check with your Realtor, landlord, or with us directly to see which services are offered to your home or business location.
New customers (or residents transferring service to a new address) can apply for service by completing a Customer Utility Service Agreement. This application can be found online or in our office and can be submitted either in-person or via mail, email, or fax. To verify identity and reduce the risk of fraud, we require applicants to present a copy of a photo ID such as a Drivers’ License, as well as a copy of their rental agreement or deed. All residents listed on the rental agreement or deed must be listed on the Utility Service Agreement as either the account holder or a responsible party.
Applications are processed during normal business hours only, Monday-Friday, 7:30 am-Noon, 1 pm-4:30 pm (except observed holidays). If your application is submitted after 2 pm, we cannot guarantee that it will be processed the same day.
Billing Adjustments & Meter-Read Errors
While every effort is made to provide customers with excellent service and correct billing, errors do sometimes occur. Lake Junaluska Public Works Office staff are authorized to make adjustments to account balances in situations where erroneous billing has occurred due to bookkeeping, accounting, or meter reading errors. Customer complaints will be investigated and responded to in a timely matter. Adjustments to account balances will be made when customers have been either over billed or under billed for provided services.
Lake Junaluska Public Works is responsible for the installation, maintenance, service, and repair of all water system components up to and including the customer’s meter. The customer is solely responsible for all lines and equipment on the customer’s side of the meter. Meters only register when water flows through them and customers are financially responsible for all water that flows through the meter, as indicated by meter readings. Should a customer question the accuracy of a meter reading reflecting an unusually high consumption, the following procedures should be followed:
- Customers should consider and look for possible causes for an increase in usage. This could include reasons such as a running toilet, dripping faucets, forgotten garden hose, power washing, or an increase in the number of people living in the home.
- If no possible cause is evident, the customer may request that the meter be re-read and checked for indication of a leak. If the reading is correct, the monthly reading will stand. If the reading is incorrect, the customer’s bill will be adjusted accordingly.
- If customers are still concerned with the accuracy of their meter and have an older mechanical meter, they may request to receive a new ultrasonic, electronic meter when one is next available for installation. Ultrasonic meters have no moving parts and therefore are not affected by wear and tear. They maintain their accuracy throughout their 20 year lifetime, unlike mechanical meters which slow down and register less consumption with age. Lake Junaluska Public Works will only replace a customer’s meter if it is an older, mechanical meter, or if there is sufficient evidence to warrant replacement. If the customer still desires to have the meter replaced, it will be replaced at the customer’s expense. The cost for replacement shall be based on the actual cost of the meter plus a meter change fee of $150.
- If the previous steps do not resolve the issue, customers may choose to escalate the complaint to the Director of Public Works. If customers are still not satisfied, a written appeal can be taken to the Junaluska Assembly Community Council (JACC). The Council considers appeals on a case-by-case basis, and the Council’s determination is final.
Connection for New Construction
Connection for new construction will be initiated with payment of tap fees and service deposits and submission of the Customer Utility Service Agreement. Current tap fees are as follows:
- Water Tap: $600
- Sewer Tap: $600
Additional costs may be associated with taps, based on the scope of work. Connections should be completed within five business days unless special circumstances arise and/or as weather permits. Billing of water and sewer services begins upon completion of taps. Billing for trash removal begins at the date of occupancy.
To coordinate the installation of taps and services for new construction, customers should contact the Director of Public Works during normal business hours.
Denial of Service
An application for service may be denied if there is an outstanding balance owed to Assembly Public Works by anyone listed on the application (account holder applicant or any responsible parties).
In providing its services to all persons within the service area who can legally and feasibly be served, no customer shall be refused service by Lake Junaluska Public Works due to race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or identity, age, number of dependents, physical disability, source of income, or place of residence in service area.
Billing & Payment
Every customer that is connected to the Lake Junaluska Assembly water and/or sewer system shall be billed in accordance with the rates and fees as outlined in the Utility Service Rates and Fees policy for the current year. Customers are responsible for timely payment of all bills, fees, or other charges associated with their accounts.
Water meters will be read once per month (within the last week of the month), either manually or electronically, depending on the meter type. Bills are calculated based on the current meter reading and mailed within the first week of the following month. Bills are payable upon receipt, and payment is due by the 25th. (Example: For April usage, the meter is read on April 27, bills are created and sent to the printer on April 30, bills are mailed out on May 3, and the bill is due May 25.)
All active accounts will receive a monthly minimum bill amount for service base rates, even if the meter reading shows zero consumption during the billing period.
If bills are not paid by the 25th, accounts will be considered delinquent. After 45 days, delinquent accounts will be eligible for disconnection due to non-payment. Failure to receive a bill does not exempt penalties, disconnection for non-payment, or obligation for payment. We are not responsible for late remittances made through the mail or for delayed payments due to third-party payers (such as check payments submitted through a customer’s bank).
We offer several payment options, including Automatic Bank Draft, Credit/Debit card payments through our Online Bill Pay system, Credit/Debit card payments in-person and over the phone, and Check payments either by mail, in-person, or through our secure after-hours drop box.
Customers are also able to submit payments through their bank’s bill pay service. When doing so, customers should ensure the proper utility account number is included with those check payments. Delays or errors in payment processing can occur if incorrect account numbers are listed.
Any check or ACH payment that does not clear the bank shall be treated as non-payment. If the check or ACH payment is returned for insufficient funds or any reason that is the fault of the customer, the payment will be canceled and a Return Check fee of $25 will be added to the account balance. If a returned check or ACH payment is made on a delinquent account, late fees and/or service disconnection will still occur per the usual schedule.
Protection of Customer Data & Privacy
Lake Junaluska Public Works collects and uses customer data to perform essential business operations such as operating and maintaining the system, managing services, and processing customer bills. In using this data, Lake Junaluska Public Works will conform to applicable laws and regulations intended to keep this information private and secure. Moreover, Lake Junaluska Public Works recognizes its responsibilities may appropriately extend beyond these laws and regulations and as such has developed this Customer Rights Statement.
Lake Junaluska Public Works customers have the right to:
- We will never sell our customer’s information. We only share customer information with third parties in order to conduct essential business functions (such as bill processing services). Our vendors are held accountable to the same standards regarding customer information shared with them.
- We only share or disclose customer information with the public in compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
- We are committed to a fair resolution of privacy concerns. We provide our customers with an investigation and appeal process that allows them to resolve concerns regarding the release of their information.
- Data Security & Integrity
- We only capture data required to conduct our business and retain it only as needed.
- We design security into every data collection, access, and transfer point.
- We will not transmit personally identifiable information over our Advanced Metering Infrastructure network.
- We implement measures to protect against a loss, misuse, and alteration of the information we control.
- We ensure delivery of an accurate bill and/or timely response if an error is discovered.
- We conduct business in an open, transparent manner where our privacy policies and decisions are available to the public.
- We provide information to our customers about all aspects of their accounts.
Rental Properties & Landlord Reversion
For rental properties within Lake Junaluska Assembly, landlords may choose to either keep utilities listed in their name or have their tenants open their own utility accounts with Lake Junaluska Public Works. For seasonal or short-term rentals, many owners choose to keep utilities in their own name and remain responsible for water and sewer billing to ensure consistent payment and continuity of service. For long-term rentals, landlords often prefer for tenants to take over direct payment of utilities so that landlords are not financially responsible for the tenant’s water consumption and delinquent bills.
Rental Utility Accounts Remaining in the Owner’s Name
As a matter of privacy, Lake Junaluska Public Works restricts who has access to customer information. Therefore, we will only discuss account information with those who are listed as the account holder or an account contact. If owners wish to retain the utilities in their own name for long-term rental properties, we ask that owners provide us with their up-to-date contact information and the names of tenants in case contact needs to be made with either party in the event of water or sewer emergencies.
Due to the unique nature of our community and in order to meet the fiscal needs of Lake Junaluska Public Works, we operate a program referred to as Landlord Reversion. This program is designed as a convenience for landlords to help eliminate the need for multiple Customer Utility Service Agreements and Discontinuance of Service Requests for transfer of service between one tenant and another. When a tenant provides notice to discontinue service for their account, utilities will be automatically reverted to the landlord’s name. When a new tenant applies for service, utilities will be automatically transferred from the landlord and to the new tenant’s name. The landlord will only be billed for prorated base charges and water consumption in between the occupancy of tenants.
Utilities will also revert back to the landlord’s name when tenant accounts appear to be abandoned (indications including but not limited to returned bills, delinquent account balance, zero usage for 2 months or more, property appears vacant, etc.), unless the tenant or landlord have alerted Lake Junaluska Public Works to the contrary. By law, Lake Junaluska Public Works cannot hold landlords financially responsible for a tenant’s delinquent or defaulted utility bills if the utility account is in the name of the tenant. However, Lake Junaluska Public Works does reserve the right to require landlords to co-sign or retain water accounts in their name for rental properties should default tenants become a reoccurring problem.
Termination of Service
Turning Off Water Service
When a customer is moving and desires to have service turned off, the account holder should submit a Discontinuance of Service Request to the Assembly Public Works office at least two business days prior to the date of shut-off. A staff member will take a final meter reading which will be used to calculate the final bill. Customers will need to provide a forwarding address for the final bill and payment of any remaining deposit funds. There will be no abatement of charges, in whole or in part, by reason of the customer having moved away from the property unless Assembly Public Works has been notified to turn off water service.
Should customers wish to turn off water temporarily, they should contact the Assembly Public Works office at least two business days prior to when they wish to have service shut-off. Customers will continue to be billed for monthly base charges for water and sewer but should expect to not see monthly charges for usage.
Disconnection of Service for Non-Payment
If bill payment is not received by the close of business on the due date indicated on the bill, the customer will be considered delinquent and eligible for disconnection of service. If disconnection occurs, payment in full plus a $15 reconnection fee must be paid prior to reconnection of service. Reconnection will occur during the hours of 7:30 am – 3 pm, Monday-Friday excluding observed holidays.
For the benefit of the customer, service disconnection will not occur on Fridays.
Disconnection of Service without Prior Notice
Assembly Public Works may disconnect the service of any customer without prior notice for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to comply with Assembly Public Works rules, regulations or policies
- Any threat to public or environmental health on the customer’s premises which may endanger other customers or property
- Tampering with Assembly Public Works equipment, including meters, or stealing service
Interruption of Service
Service may be temporarily interrupted, with or without notice, for the following reasons:
- Repairs/Maintenance of water system
- Restricted/Limited supply (refer to the Emergency Use Restrictions policy)
When possible, Assembly Public Works will communicate service interruptions with as much notice as possible; however, it is not always possible when emergency repairs are necessary.
Assembly Public Works shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting from the discontinuance of service.
Water & Sewer Leaks
If you suspect a possible water or sewer leak, whether at home or in the community at large, please contact the Lake Junaluska Public Works office to have a crew member investigate.
If a water leak is found on the customer’s side of the meter, it is the customer’s responsibility to have the leak repaired immediately. Lake Junaluska Public Works reserves the right to temporarily turn off the water until the customer can have the leak repaired, particularly when the leak is large and poses financial and/or property damage risks while we are attempting to contact homeowners.
Due to the nature of our system, we are unable to offer leak adjustments for customer bills. Therefore, it is important to catch leaks early and complete repairs quickly to prevent water bills from growing.
Sewer leaks can lead to significant and costly property damage and environmental concerns. As with water leaks, it is the customer’s responsibility to have sewer leaks repaired immediately and Lake Junaluska Public Works reserves the right to temporarily turn off water until the customer can have the leak repaired. Depending on the extent and impact of the leak, involvement of the Haywood County Department of Health and/or North Carolina Water Quality regulators may become necessary. We urge customers to provide rapid and diligent attention to sewer leaks, as this can help to mitigate the situation before it gets out of control.
Water Meter Access & Tampering/Theft of Service
Water meters and service connections to them are the property of Lake Junaluska Public Works, and as required by the North Carolina Utility Commission, access should be provided at all reasonable times for maintenance and operation. Customers are responsible to trim, cut back, and/or remove any bushes, trees, sod, landscaping, etc. that may cover or obstruct access to a water meter. Neglect or refusal on the part of the customer to provide reasonable access to their premises for the above purposes shall be deemed to be sufficient cause for service disconnection by Lake Junaluska Public Works.
A “notice of violation” may be mailed to the billing address on file for the property, or otherwise delivered, alerting customers that a meter access problem exists and outlining the specific steps needed to address the situation. Failure to maintain accessibility to the water meter can result in missed meter readings, service fees, and disconnection.
Tampering/Theft of Service
Per North Carolina General Statute 14-151.1, it is illegal for any unauthorized person (including a licensed plumber) to alter, tamper with, relocate, willfully damage, or bypass a water meter. It is also illegal for any person other than authorized Lake Junaluska Public Works personnel to reconnect a water meter after it has been disconnected by Lake Junaluska Public Works. Meter tampering is subject to criminal charges- any person violating this law can be found guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Tampering/Theft of Service shall include, but not be limited to the following:
- Opening valves at the meter that have been turned off by Lake Junaluska Public Works personnel;
- Breaking, picking or damaging meter cut-off locks;
- By-passing meters in any way;
- Taking unmetered water from hydrants by anyone other than authorized fire department personnel, fire insurance company, or by Lake Junaluska Public Works personnel;
- Use of sprinkler system water service for any purpose other than fire protection;
- Removing, disabling, or adjusting meter registers;
- Connecting to or intentionally damaging water lines or valves;
- Moving the meter or extending service without permission of ;
- Any other intentional act of defacement, destruction, or vandalism to Lake Junaluska Public Works property;
- Any intentional blockage or obstruction of Lake Junaluska Public Works equipment.
In the event, a meter or service equipment has been tampered with or unauthorized usage has occurred, service will be disconnected immediately. In addition, the customer will be subject to a $150 tampering fee as well as labor and replacement costs for any damaged equipment or property as detailed by Lake Junaluska Public Works.
Trash & Brush Collection
Household Garbage & Recycling
Lake Junaluska Public Works contracts with Consolidated Waste Services (CWS) for weekly residential garbage and recycling pickup. Cans are provided by residents themselves and should be placed at the curb no later than 7 am on pickup day. Both garbage and recycling should be bagged; recycling should be placed in either clear or blue bags.
Yard waste, bulky trash, and construction debris cannot be collected with household garbage and recycling by CWS. Also, do not dispose of medical waste, auto parts (antifreeze, batteries, tires, etc.), or hazardous waste (motor oil, paint, compact fluorescent light bulbs, lead-acid batteries, drain and oven cleaners, pesticides, etc.) in household garbage.
Some areas of our community are known for bear activity. To minimize the chance that bears will get into garbage or become a problem, keep cans tightly closed or stored in a secure area, and avoid putting out the night before pick-up.
Garbage and recycling will not be collected on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. If one of these holidays falls on a normal collection day, service will be suspended and will resume the following day, pushing back collection one day. For example, if a holiday occurs on Monday, Monday collection will occur on Tuesday.
Contact the Lake Junaluska Public Works Office if you wish to report a missed collection, have questions about collection schedules, or items that can be disposed of with household garbage and recycling.
Lake Junaluska Public Works collects yard debris year-round, including leaves, brush, and grass clippings. In the fall and early spring, the leaf truck drives a regular route through the community, vacuuming leaf piles as they are found or as work orders are submitted. During other times of the year, bagged leaves can be collected. Bagged grass clippings are also collected throughout the year.
Brush is also collected by Lake Junaluska Public Works. Brush must not exceed 6 inches in diameter and 6 feet in length and should be placed in a neat pile at the curb with all limbs facing the same direction for easy collection. Lake Junaluska Public Works will not collect commercially cut brush, brush mixed with other materials such as garbage or junk, or brush that does not meet the size requirements (stumps, logs, trunks, etc…).
Brush or any yard waste that requires more collection time than 15 minutes shall be picked up upon request and payment of a collection fee of $50 per 30-minute increment of time. For large collections requiring use of a Bobcat, an additional fee of $75 will be charged.
Contact the Lake Junaluska Public Works Office if you wish to request a work order for pickup.
Trash & Brush Collection (continued)
Bulky Trash & White Goods
Bulky trash includes items such as chairs, mattresses, televisions, sofas, and other large household items. White goods include appliances and other metal items such as refrigerators, stoves, freezers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, hot water heaters, etc. Lake Junaluska Public Works will collect these items upon request. Call the Public Works office to place a work order and schedule collection. Then, place the items at the curb by 7 am on the scheduled day of collection.
Lake Junaluska Public Works collects limited amounts of residential construction debris including lumber, bricks, doors, roofing material, sheetrock, etc. from small, homeowner projects. Contractors and/or homeowners are responsible for disposing of materials from major home renovations or construction projects. If a customer is considering a home renovation project and would like to know in advance whether Lake Junaluska Public Works would be able to dispose of their debris, they should contact the Public Works office for assistance.
Grease, Fats, and Oils
Grease, fats, and oil interceptors shall be installed and maintained by users operating food preparation facilities. Interceptors shall be installed and maintained at the user’s expense. All interceptors shall be type and capacity approved by the Haywood County Building Inspectors and must be in accordance with the North Carolina Uniform Plumbing Code.
Grease interceptors over 50 pounds must be cleaned commercially and fats, oils, and grease must be disposed of properly. The user must maintain a written record of interceptor maintenance and commercial removal for a period of three years.
In cases of sanitary sewer overflows that have been caused by excessive grease discharged into the Lake Junaluska Public Works sewer system by commercial businesses, charges to clear the system will be passed onto the customer. If the Haywood County Building Inspector or Lake Junaluska Public Works notifies a business of the need to upgrade or improve their grease interceptor system, the customer has six months to complete the improvements. Failure to abide by these policies will result in interruption of sewer and/or water service.
The Lake Junaluska Public Works wastewater collection system connects to the Town of Waynesville sewage treatment plant, and therefore these policies are in addition to and subordinate to any ordinances that are in place by the Town of Waynesville.
Annual Service Charge Fee Assessment
All deeds associated with the Lake Junaluska Assembly grounds give to the Lake Junaluska Assembly Board of Trustees the right to establish Rules and Regulations. These Rules and Regulations adopted by the Board of Trustees in October 2021provide for the collection of an annual Service Charge:
“15.) Each owner shall pay such service charges as are fixed from time to time by the Lake Junaluska Assembly, Inc. Board of Trustees for the purpose of paying reasonable and specific expenses associated with the upkeep, maintenance, and related costs that benefit residents of the Assembly grounds, which may include, but not be limited to, security protection, street maintenance, street lighting, drainage maintenance, garbage, and trash collection, and administrative costs of Lake Junaluska Assembly in providing such services.
Therefore, a Service Charge will be billed annually for every property that is documented by the Haywood County Courthouse as having been originally deeded by the Board of Trustees or the Board of Trustees’ direct predecessors.
How Rates Are Determined
The millage rate is determined by the annual operating budget of Assembly Public Works, is generally set in the fall, and is approved by the Junaluska Assembly Community Council (JACC) and the Lake Junaluska Assembly Board of Trustees. The Haywood County tax assessment value for the same year will be used to determine the actual service charge bill for each parcel.
Billing & Delinquency
Changes in the Billing Cycle in 2020
Since the early days of the community, Service Charges had been collected at the end of the year to cover the expenses incurred during that year's conference season. While this practice may have worked fine in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, it's a practice that does not well align with current accounting and budgeting standards. Knowing that altering this practice would be complicated and confusing, it was understandably not an action that was enthusiastically anticipated.
However, the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 clearly illustrated the need for a timely change. In July of 2020, the Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees approved a recommendation brought forth by the Service Charge Task Force, a group comprised of seven property owners tasked with determining a new billing schedule that would move the collection of Service Charge fees into prepayment.
As the first phase, the 2020 Service Charge bill was issued on the 1st of September of that year, instead of the customary date of December 1st. In Phase Two, the 2021 Service Charge bill was issued on January 1, 2021. Residents were offered a discount of 5% as an incentive to pay by the end of January, otherwise, they could opt to pay in installments over 12 months. A decision regarding the billing schedule for the 2022 Service Charge will be considered at the March 2021 Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees Meeting.
On March 1, a 5% late fee will be assessed for all parcels still showing a balance due. On May 1, an additional 5% late fee will be assessed for balances still owed, for a combined total late fee of 10%. Delinquent property owners will be contacted by letter informing them of their overdue balance in early March, and again in early May.
Contact the Lake Junaluska Public Works Office to arrange for payment. Any property owner that contacts the Public Works Office to explain special circumstances or establish an agreeable payment plan may be excused from late fees.
Effects on Property Sales
Lake Junaluska Public Works will provide estimated Service Charges and current balances owed to closing attorneys during property sales. The agreement to prorate or divide estimated charges is the responsibility of the buyer and seller. It is the responsibility of the property owner that owns any parcel on the Service Charge billing date to pay the entire year’s charges or produce a receipt or proof of partial or full payment that may have been paid in advance.
* Policies are subject to change without notice.*