By DENISE FEDOROW
NAPPANEE — Nappanee residents with sprinkler systems will have a more convenient way to turn their water meters on and off in the spring and fall. Nappanee Board of Works members on Monday approved a new policy concerning seasonal meters.
Water Superintendent Gale Gerber explained that up until now water utility employees have had to pull the meters in and out to discontinue service in the fall and restart the service again in the spring. However, with new technology and the smart meters that were installed, Gerber said registers can be turned off and the meters left in, without meter readers having to track in and out of residents’ homes.
Gerber said, “We’ll help the customers know where the meter is and where the shut-off valve is, so they’ll just have to call and tell us they’re shutting the sprinkler system meter off in the fall and it’ll stay in and they’ll call back in the spring and tell us to turn it on.”
Gerber wanted to keep the ordinance the same as far as fees are concerned because some meters will still have to be pulled. But he recommended there be no charge for the simple turn off and on from the office.
Board member Phil Jenkins asked what happens if a customer calls to say turn the meter off but they leave it on at their end. Gerber said if a customer leaves it on and uses it ,the register will automatically turn on after three revolutions of the meter and the customer will be billed.
The board approved the changes to the system.
In other water department business, the board also approved scrapping all brass fittings in inventory in response to a federal law requiring reduction of lead in drinking water.
The board approved specifications prepared by Emergency Medical Services Chief Jim Sumpter Jr. to solicit bids for two 12 lead monitor/defibrillators.
The board also approved hiring paramedic Jennifer Newcomer to the full-time medic staff contingent upon her passing a physical and drug and alcohol test. Her start date is set for March 23, with a starting salary of $13.47 per hour.