According to Hollis Alexander, interim city administrator, approximately 10 percent of the meters that are read are done so incorrectly. This translates into approximately 50 meters per month.
“People get pretty upset, and I can’t blame them, when their meters are read wrong,” Alexander said at the meeting.
Board members, along with Mayor Lyn Bailey, also discussed the possible installation of new technology on the water meters to enhance future productivity. The proposal is to attach a transponder unit to some if not all of the meters that will electronically track the amount of water that flows into a residence. To read the meter, all the worker would have to do is drive down the street and let their receiver read the meter. Hollis said the meter could read both sides of the street at the same time.
The estimated cost to install an electronic transponder meter would be approximately $125 per unit. For the whole city to become electronically read, the board estimated it would cost nearly $200,000.
Not all of the meters that are currently used would have to be replaced, members said. Some of the meters that are now used can still be read electronically.
As of right now, city employees are reading meters manually, which is likely the cause of the errors. Members of the board have contacted Utility Meter Services (UMS) to possibly take the reigns behind the reading. UMS estimated that their per meter cost would be in the neighborhood of 90 cents per meter. Workers make 50 cents per meter they read, currently. UMS boasts a 98 percent accuracy rate for their readings.
The problems have risen after continuous complaint from tax-payers that their meters are being read incorrectly, therefore costing them more money. Members of the board also considered hiring someone to update their logs to match what they should be. The person hired would have to “sequence” the logs properly.
Members also discussed beginning advertising to seek a replacement for a worker that plans to terminate his employment in July. The employee’s license expires in July and has told their supervisors that they do not plan to renew their license by attending the required classes.
For someone to become a water employee, they must have at least 3 years of apprenticeship. Members said there is part-time help available.
The commission is now seeking bids for the electronic transponder installation. Some bids are in, however others will be accepted.
The Cadiz Water and Sewer Commission meets the second Monday of every month at 6 p.m. in City Hall.