Saline To Replace Water Meters

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Saline is getting new water meters. The Saline City Council approved a plan to replace every water meter from every business and home in the city over the course of this year, at their January 12 meeting.

“For the past several month's city staff has been working with AMI meter providers to identify a reliable strategy for replacing aging meters within our utility system. The current practice of manually walking neighborhoods to collect meter reads is inefficient and costly,” City Manager Colleen O’Toole wrote in a memorandum to the Council, January 7. “The mechanical meters currently used by the city are known to have a higher rate of inaccuracy and lead to increase in that inaccuracy over time.”

The city is going ahead with a ten year deal with Core & Main, the original vendor presented for the job by Director of Public Works Larry Sirls. The city agreed to pay the company $1,958,363.20 in yearly payments over the next decade for the project.

“They guaranteed a price where if we didn’t act soon, they couldn’t guarantee [that] price, which I thought was reasonable and competitive,” Mayor Brian Marl said after the measure passed. “There’s no proposal of this magnitude and scope that is going to be perfect. But as Mayor Pro Tem Girbach and others indicated, we are long overdue for a meter change out. This is good for residents, this is good for business owners. More modern technology will more effectively read and monitor water usage, so this proposal in its totality is just good for Saline.”

Some on the Council were uncomfortable with only having one option when this was initially proposed, so Sirls presented two other options. The other options were a $1,664,571.49 deal through two companies, Ferguson and Neptune. The other option was through two companies, Hydrocorp and Kamstrup, for $1,764,445.04. Ultimately, the Council decided to go for the Core & Main option, which the City will pay for in yearly payment packages of $1,95,836.52 per year.

Core & Main could not be reached for comment at any time through this months-long process.

The modern meters are expected to be installed within the year. These modern meters are not expected to have anywhere near the wear and tear that their predecessors will have. They will also allow two-way communication between the property owner and city staff and will allow real time monitoring of how much water is being used, and if a problem occurs.

The new meters will be battery powered, which left some councilors worried about having to physically replace them in a few years. Sirls said that the batteries will be long lasting, and the city will be alerted by the internal system if the meters are damaged or in danger of running out of power.

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