The council discussed changing the city’s current water meters to new and more technologically advanced radio-read meters, which would give greater accuracy and efficiency in reading water utility usage of residences and businesses in the city.
The current and older water meters must be manually read by a meter reader walking up to each meter box and logging in the numbers that indicate the water usage rate.
The new automated radio-read meters would provide digital and wireless technology that would make it faster and easier to compute and store the water meter reading by just driving by, thereby reducing the need for time-consuming labor and possible human error, according to city officials.
City officials said that some of the current water meters in the city won’t read when there is a low flow going through it, even though the consumer is using it, and the city ends up losing income on water utilities. The city leadership believes that the radio-read meters would give a more precise and exact reading of water usage.
“We are looking into changing our water meters to radio-read meters,” said Mayor Brent Houdmann. “This would be more efficient and also give the city a more accurate reading of water meters. At this stage we are just collecting prices from different venders to determine the cost of replacing 300 water meters with the new radio-read meters.”
Also relating to the city’s water, the city is no longer under water restrictions and is looking into an opportunity to generate some revenue by selling bulk water. Utility Supervisor Jeremy Mandel was asked by the city to get the bulk water rates from other cities in the surrounding area to see if Falls City is competitive with their rates.
The water would be sold to various oil companies and construction companies, among others, and would be used for various needs and purposes relating to things like construction and drilling.
In other business, the council approved the closing Yoakum Street, between Andrew and Meyers streets, on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 for the Holy Trinity Church Picnic.