Woodward City Commissioners met Monday evening before an all but empty room to discuss and approve an ordinance amendment addressing testing fees and charges for damage to the new automated water meters.
The pricing for testing on each size meter was adjusted to match the price charged to conduct the tests. According to City Clerk Andrea Martin, the prices listed previously had not been updated in years and were not accurate, even for the old system. The City also does not make a profit from the testing fees. The fee that is charged is the cost of test and does not benefit the City.
Testing procedures remain the same as the have been in the past. If a resident has an issue with their water bill, they have always been able to and can still contact the City and someone will examine the meter onsite to see if there is an issue.
“Anytime you had a question about your reading - you thought it was too much - we manually went out and reread those, and looked at prior months, and everything else to make sure that it wasn’t an over usage,” said Assistant City Manager Shaun Barnett. “Could have been a leak because they were gone. We did that prior (to the new meters), we will continue to do that with the new meters as well.”
Only after the typical examination and at the written request of the resident, would the meter be removed, replaced, and sent off for testing. According to Martin, tests are rarely requested.
If the meter is removed at the customer’s written request, the meter will be sent to a testing facility that is certified to test water meters pursuant to the American Water Works Standards, according to the approved ordinance amendment. According to City Attorney Aaron Sims, the City does not have the ability to test the new meters in-house.
If the test results show an error against the customer of more than three percent in the meter’s registry, the excess of the consumption on the three previous readings shall be credited to the customer’s account and the water department shall bear the entire expense of the test, the ordinance states.
However, if the test shows no such error, the person who has required the test shall pay the charge for the test and all related expenses including postage/freight to and from the testing facility.
One of only two local residents in attendance, Randy Myers, asked commissioners why they specified a three percent margin stating concern for the elderly community’s ability to pay to cost. Barnett explained that the three percent is suggested by the manufacturer.
“There’s not a meter on the market that does not have a discrepancy amount to it,” Barnett explained. “That is the recommended amount from the manufacturer.”
Commissioner Roscoe Hill expressed his frustration with the fees.
“For some reason I thought the reason we were putting these in is that it’s trouble free,” Hill said. “So now we’re talking about (how) we’re going to have trouble with them?”
Hill was assured that no piece of equipment is ever trouble free, and that the procedures are being set so that customers have the option and right to test their meters.
“Even if that meter is 100 percent accurate, if they complain and request that it be tested, we need to have a procedure in place that will allow for that testing to occur,” Sims explained.
The second part of the approved amendment set charges for damages. City Manager Alan Riffel specified that there will be allowances in some situations such as meters in high traffic areas.
Myers again expressed concern about determining who is at fault for damages to the meters. Riffel stated the damaged meters would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
The amendment takes affect immediately and breaks down as follows:
1/2 inch to 1-inch meters - $150
1 and 1/2 inch to 2-inch meters - $400
3-inch to 4-inch meters - $700
6-inch meters - $1,000
8-inch meters - $1,200
10-inch meters - $1,400
Sensus Mushroom Cap - $30
Transmitter - $155
Service Call Fee (after hours & weekends) - $50
The board approved Ordinance No. 1695 amending sections 97.01 and 97.02 of the Code of Ordinances. This would amend the street naming procedures, and house and building numbering procedures to ensure they follow state guidelines for E-911 addresses.
Riffel gave a brief reporting updating commissioners on the 34th street project. According to Riffel, crews will be laying asphalt on the south mile this week. The north miles are being prepped as well. He went on to say progress should be picking up.
The City was also awarded a grant to assist the census in targeting the “underserved” areas of town, Riffel said.
The Woodward Municipal Authority approved a change order from True Solutions, LLC. relative to the Oak Avenue Storm Water Detention Pond, Project No. 170. The change order would allow for additional fill material for the outlet structure at Maple Avenues, additional payment for re-grading the pond, and add 42 additional days to the completion date, according to City documents.
The additional materials would total $6,000, however the project engineers, not the City, will ultimately be responsible for the amount, according to Sims.
The project is expected to be finished Feb. 11 as long as the weather does not cause delays, according to Barnett.