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Falls City officials consider radio-read water meters
by Bain Serna
Mar 22, 2014 | 69 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FALLS CITY – At the March 12 regular meeting the Falls City City Council discussed and reviewed the final details of contract negotiations with Ferguson Meter & Automation Group for the citywide installation of about 300 new radio-read water meters. The new radio-read meters would replace the current and older ones on homes and buildings within the city with new and more technologically advanced water meters.

Cost-effective concerns relating to the installation and logistics of the new water meters were at the forefront of concerns that city officials have expressed before having the final contract approved.

The original contract with Ferguson stated that if there were old meters that they had issues and difficulties extracting, then Ferguson was going to have a company come in at $85 per hour to remove those meters.

“Our biggest concern was getting stuck with a bunch of additional costs on the installation as far as parts and labor go at $85 an hour,” said Utilities Supervisor Jeremy Mandel at the meeting.

“We’re under the feeling that our guys (city utility workers) can remove those meters themselves at a much cheaper rate of $85 an hour,” added Mayor Brent Houdmann.

Houdmann explained that it was recently put in the contract that Ferguson would let the city know which meters were difficult or more complex to extract and bypass them. Falls City utility workers would then take it upon themselves to remove those meters, saving the city money. Ferguson would then come and install the new meters.

The council also has concerns as to what will happen to the old water meters once they are removed, due to the fact that there is still a value to the old meters.

The council is set to decide the final approval to the contract with Ferguson next month. Estimated costs for Ferguson to replace the old meters with the new radio-read meters is at about $80,000. That amount includes the training, software, the computer reader, and the meters themselves.

Also at the meeting, the council approved the appointment of Corey Albert to fill the vacated council seat and unexpired term of Clarence Crawford, who resigned from the City Council in April of last year. Albert will serve on the council through Crawford’s unexpired term that runs until May of 2015.

The council also approved having the city match funds with Floresville Electric Light and Power System (FELPS) for the benefit of the 2014 Summer Youth Program.

The Summer Youth Program consists of the summer activities of the Falls City Youth League and Falls City Public Library. The youth league is for children and youth involved in baseball athletics, and the library’s summer reading program is meant to promote a love for reading by providing reading activities for area children.

For every electrical hook-up there is in town, FELPS will donate a certain amount of money to supervised youth programs, and the city will match that. FELPS will come in and count how many electrical connections they have in town. Whatever amount FELPS comes up with, the city will match that donation and give it to the Falls City Youth League and to the Falls City Library summer reading program.

The city has annually collaborated with FELPS to donate funds for summer youth programs for over 15 years.
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