London hopes to move to electronic water meters

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(Posted Dec. 8, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Messenger

The city of London hopes to secure state funding to replace all water meters with ones that can be read electronically rather than in-person.

“A lot of our meters are old and register incorrectly, they’re hard to read, and it takes two weeks’ worth of man hours to read all them each month,” said Joe Mosier, safety service director.

Electronic meters would improve efficiency and effectiveness, said Mayor Patrick Closser.

“It would be such a tremendous upgrade,” said council member Anthony Smith.

The estimated cost of the project is $1.4 million. To cover the cost, the city is pursuing a loan and a grant, both from the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC).

On Dec. 3, city council members gave the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) the greenlight to apply for a 0-percent interest loan for $1 million. The application deadline is Feb. 5. BPU also has applied for a $400,000 grant.

“We’ve been selected to receive the $400,000, as long as the state funding is available,” Mosier said. If it is available, the grant funding should come through in July of next year.

Mosier said the goal is to get the project done in 2021, but he said the timeline will depend on the logistics of physically replacing every meter in town and any impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other action, council approved the appropriation of $82,176 in additional CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act money. The federal funds must be used for expenses related to the pandemic.

Earlier in the year, the city received a total of $519,320 in CARES funds, as distributed through the county. All municipalities in the county were offered funding. Recently, any unused funds went back to the county for redistribution to municipalities that could put it to use. The $82,176 is the result of that redistribution. All CARES money must be spent by Dec. 30.

According to Amy Rees, administrative executive assistant, the city has spent the money on an array of safety and security supplies and equipment. Examples include sanitizing stations, fans and an ionization filtering system for the community center, protective glass and sneeze guards, facemasks, software for online bill payments, software to conduct virtual meetings, and thermometers, including ones equipped with no-touch thermal imaging. The city also looks to spend some of the funds on turnout gear for the fire department and efforts to increase separation between fire fighters in the station living quarters.

Also on Dec. 3, council held a third reading on an ordinance that would allow city residents to raise chickens on their properties. Council member Andy Hitt said an amended version of the proposed ordinance will be presented for consideration at council’s next meeting on Dec. 17.

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