For some years now, property owners who fall behind on fees due to the city for services such as water and sewer -- and for "involuntary" services such as having the city mow weeds if the property owner does not do so -- have found themselves with higher property-tax bills.

For some years now, property owners who fall behind on fees due to the city for services such as water and sewer -- and for "involuntary" services such as having the city mow weeds if the property owner does not do so -- have found themselves with higher property-tax bills.

That's because city and state laws allow Reynoldsburg to assess delinquent bills as part of property tax collections.

In September, garbage collection may be added to that list of services for which late fees will "attach" to the property and be collected by the county auditor as part of property-tax collections. It's one of the items Reynoldsburg City Council will deal with when it returns from its annual summer recess.

The proposed ordinance "is still in the reading process," Clerk of Council April Beggerow said. "It's up for adoption in September."

For a city council to adopt an ordinance, it must have three public readings at separate council meetings in order to give the public time to know what laws are being proposed. Proposed ordinances ordinarily become law 30 days after they are approved at the third reading. Exceptions are made for emergency legislation when separate readings can be waived and the law can be made effective immediately. This is often done for contracts and circumstances when the council feels the law must take effect prior to the time required for three separate council meetings.

The proposed ordinance that would allow late collections to be assessed with property taxes is not classified as emergency legislation. It could take effect in October, if council members approve it in September.

The refuse-collection ordinance would join existing laws that have been in effect for some time, allowing the city to assess other delinquent bills, usually utility bills. The new ordinance, if approved, would not itself result in any assessments; it merely would authorize the city to request the county auditor to do so.

To actually impose a property-tax lien on each affected property, council must pass legislation authorizing individual assessments when they are due.

"It's not automatic," Beggerow said. "So far, it's been a once a year thing. In July, before council goes on August recess, we pass the legislation saying, 'Here's what we've got for the previous year (in delinquent water, sewer and other similar bills).' It's done retroactively, so for 2016, we do all the 2015 bills. We get a spreadsheet, then authorize the clerk to send it to the auditor's office."

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews