Water meter vote delayed until Wednesday

Published: Tue, December 11, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By danny restivo



City council postponed a decision until Wednesday on the installation of new water meters.

During a regular meeting Monday night, council members approved a motion to schedule a special meeting for a final reading and a vote on the ordinance.

Lou Adovasio, councilman at-large and chairman of the utilities committee, believes council will pass the ordinance during the Wednesday night meeting.

The meters will cost in excess of $1.5 million.

Mayor James Melfi said, however, he plans to veto the legislation if council approves the ordinance.

While Adovasio and other council members believe the meters are a positive move for the city, Melfi thinks they are a financial risk for Girard, which was released from fiscal oversight in June.

He believes the city should wait until the Girard Lakes are paid off before the city purchases new meters.

He said the city pays $242,000 a year for the lakes, and council should hold off on the meter purchase until the total debt is paid off in 2015.

In October, council approved an advertisement for bids on the new water-meter project. The mayor said the Cincinnati-based Neptune Equipment Co., which specializes in water-utility monitoring, offered the lowest bid.

In a Dec. 1 letter from Robert Becker, president of Neptune, to the city, he said the installation will operate on a six-month time line. Becker also said the company will offer a deferment on the initial payment for up to a year after funding becomes available.

If council does approve the motion Wednesday, Melfi will have 10 days to veto or approve the legislation.

If vetoed, council must wait 10 days to vote again, and acquire five out of seven votes to override the veto.

Council must approve the decision by Jan. 13 or the water-meter bid from Neptune will expire.

Currently, the city’s residential water meters are inside homes and must be read manually by city employees.

When a resident isn’t home, the water department relies on the homeowner to provide a reading that is either mailed in or called in.

When residents don’t give a two-month report of their meter, the city estimates the cost based on previous usage.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on the second floor of the city justice center.

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