Georgetown city aldermen upgraded the water meter system Tuesday with a purchase that will eventually convert every meter to the newest technology.

The city council approved spending $167,400 to enable the conversion to new radio-read meters, which will allow just one worker to read all 1,300 to 1,400 meters in four hours compared to taking three or four people two to three days each month to do the job.

Alderman Kim Shrout said the switch will save the city money.

“It will be a big cost savings in man hours and it will free up workers for other jobs,” Shrout said.

Currently, the majority of water customers in the city have touch-read meters, which means a worker drives to the site, gets out of the vehicle, walks up to the meter and touches it with a wand. One-quarter of water customers still have the old style meters that require a worker to open them and look inside to get a reading.

The new radio-read system allows a worker to drive by the area where the meter is located and the reading is automatically loaded into the system without anyone leaving the vehicle. The worker will carry a laptop with software in the truck and then take the reading information to city hall on a disc for office personnel to use for billing.

The new meter system allows for a coupling unit to just be snapped onto the 1,000 meters that are currently touch-read in order for those to become radio-read ready. The other roughly 400 meters that are not yet installed with touch-read also will be transferred over to the new system before the end of the year.

The new meters, laptop and software were purchased from HD Supply Waterworks of St. Louis and have a 10-year warranty. The system also comes with training for personnel.

Mayor Darrell Acord said they learned of the system at a conference in 2002 and have been planning and saving for the new meters since that time. While the meter system was not a budgeted item, it did come out of a special waterworks improvement fund that has been earmarked for the purpose.

“We plan for this kind of stuff … that’s what this is set up for,” Acord said.

Acord said the system also will be especially useful with customers located in the country and in Cayuga and because some of the old meters freeze in the winter. There are 26 miles of Georgetown streets with meters to be read with between 1,300 and 1,400 total waterworks customers.

In other business, aldermen:

-- Approved a $32,347 payment to Daniel Ribbe Trucking of Tilton for tar and chip roadwork done in August on city streets.

Portions of 11th, 12th, 13th, 7th and 6th streets were coated as well as Guy Avenue, Park Street, Whittier Street and Vermilion Street. A large portion of Kennedy Drive was completed as well.

-- Heard Acord remind residents that Seminary Street is now a two-way street per an ordinance that was passed in 1979. He said the long-time ordinance stipulates the street is one-way from May 1 to Sept. 1 and all other times of the year it is a two-way road.

Summer sports activities at the park and the Georgetown Fair were cited as reasons for the change of direction during the summer months.

Acord said it’s important the road returns to two-way status now that school has started because buses use the street during their routes.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Georgetown City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 at the city hall.

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