Girard residents may be able to purchase second meter for outdoor use

By danny restivo


Residents soon may have the opportunity to purchase a second water meter that would include a lower rate.

Joe Shelby, councilman-at-large and chairman of the building and grounds committee, introduced legislation Monday that would allow water customers to use outdoor meters for the “exclusive purpose of lawn, garden, and landscape irrigation” without paying additional sewer rates.

Shelby said water customers currently pay a sewer rate for all water use, which comprises roughly 40 percent of an average water bill.

According to the proposed ordinance, Girard customers would have to pay the city’s water department $276 for the installation of a second meter.

Depending on how much outdoor water is used, Shelby said, it would be a worthwhile investment for some customers.

“An individual could make up the cost in a year by purchasing a second meter,” said Shelby.

Lou Adovasio, councilman-at-arge and chairman of the utilities commission, said Shelby’s ordinance makes sense.

“Warm weather is nearing, and a lot of people are going to be outside using a lot of water, and it would be nice for them to get an accurate reading on their usage,” said Adovasio, who championed an ordinance to install new meters throughout the city.

In January, council voted to override Mayor James Melfi’s veto for installation of remote radio-frequency water meters. Melfi vetoed the $1.53 million investment, citing the city’s release from fiscal oversight in June 2012. Currently, the city’s residential water meters are inside homes and must be read manually. When a resident isn’t home, the water department relies on the homeowner to provide a reading.

The new meters allow city employees to drive by a house and receive an accurate water reading via radio signal.

Cincinnati-based Neptune Equipment Co., which specializes in water-utility monitoring, has been contracted to install the new meters. Adovasio said letters from Neptune are being sent to citizens to contact the company for an installation time.

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