Goshen News, Goshen, IN

July 24, 2013

Nappanee board approves electronic meters


— NAPPANEE — A computerized system for reading water meters on trial in Nappanee has been working well and on Monday the board of public works and safety members approved purchasing the system.

Clerk-Treasurer Kim Ingle reported to the board (since Water Superintendent Gale Gerber was at the fair) that Nappanee has been a sample site for Master Meter for longer than a year.

“It’s proven to work very well,” she said. “We’re getting good demonstrations picked up now with just one antennae at the top of the police department.”

She said the company is proposing adding another antenna at U.S. 6 East near the Berlin Court Ditch that would get power from the existing lift station — also a benefit to the city. Ingle said the quote of $45,200 includes equipment, software, upgrades to existing software and maintenance agreement.

She said the quote does not include the cost of the pole for the antenna — they have contacted Middlebury Electric for a quote. Ingle said a representative from Master Meter said the city could do that cheaper than if the company had to take bids. The clerk-treasurer said it’s not necessary for the city to put it out to bid because it is computer and software-related work.

She pointed out to the board that the system cost is half of what it would be for them to come in and install a new system — as a thank you to the city for allowing them to install and use them as a test site.

Board member Phil Jenkins asked if the city currently had a meter reader to go out and read the meters and he was told not any longer. What they’ve been doing is having Water Utility employee Dave Janssen go out in his truck and ride up and down the streets getting meter readings, which takes about two days.

“It’s a wonderful system and we’ll keep that working but the new system won’t require him to go out and do all that,” she said.

She also said if someone is going on vacation and wants their meter turned off they won’t have to send an employee out to shut it off and turn it back on. The Water Utility clerk will be able to go into the system and put the meter on vacation. She also said the new system would work with the current billing system.

“It’s much more efficient,” Ingle said.

Paramedic intercept agreement

The board accepted a paramedic intercept agreement with Jackson Township at a cost of $200 per call to the township.

Potential extended trash agreement

Mayor Thompson reported that he, Ingle and Street Superintendent Brent Warren met with representatives of Borden Waste-Away to discuss possibly entering into an extended 10-year contract, which would also include each residence supplied with 96-gallon containers.

The mayor said curbside recycling would also be available but that would be an agreement between the resident and Borden. It would not be provided as part of the city’s contract. The biggest change for residents, the mayor said, would be utilizing the containers instead of just putting out trash bags.

He and the clerk-treasurer both said by entering into the 10-year contract the first three years would actually be less costly than the agreement the city currently has.

Ingle said she’s been telling the mayor and the city council for several years now that the money is gone and residents are going to have to pay for trash removal and it would be added to the utility bill. In order to avoid that at least for one more year, Ingle said she zeroed out existing projects earmarked for Economic Development Income Tax for 2014. She said that also included taking away money from the brick street project, but they also worked on a way that the project could still be done in phases.

This coming year the first phase could be paid for by using cumulative capital development funds. Warren said the Walnut Street intersection and Van Buren Street intersection are the most in need of improvement so it is likely the first phase would include the 400 block of Madison Street extending through the intersection.