Watervliet enters second phase of water meter replacement

WATERVLIET — Watervliet has replaced over 100 residential water meters in the last few months which, city officials say, has reduced estimates and created much more accurate reads. 

City Manager R. Tyler Dotson told the City Commission on Tuesday night that in June the city had 280 unreadable meters. Now, through replacement of meters and a new antenna on the meter reader, there are only 51 left to read. 

Dotson said t he city will move into the second phase of the meter replacement process by switching out larger commercial meters. 

The City Commission approved paying Field Plumbing & Heating up to $5,000 to replace seven large meters. Five meters will go to the Cobblestone Apartments, one will go to the Waterford Apartments and one will go to Fairfield Inn. 

Dotson said the city’s Department of Public Works staff have the skills to replace the smaller residential meters, but DPW Supervisor Jeff Allen said a contractor should be hired to do the replacements of the larger meters. 

Dotson said the new meters will more accurately capture the amount of water that goes through them and have an ability to limit losses, resulting in more revenue for the city from water bills. 

In other business, the City Commission approved increasing the salary of City Clerk Christa Townsend to $38,000 as a result of her 90-day review. 

Dotson said he performed the review and is very impressed with how quickly Townsend has picked up the job and her willingness to further learn. She was hired as an office assistant at a salary of $35,360. The salary increase will take place immediately. 

Commissioners approved extending the seasonal employment of two Watervliet DPW employees. 

Dotson said with the recent departure of a full-time DPW employee, keeping the two seasonal employees through November will help the department and save it about $2,500 over the next three months. He said this will further allow a review in the next two months of how the DPW is structured. 

“If we’re looking for some restructuring, this would be an opportunity to do so. No one would be losing their jobs, so this gives us time to think about it moving forward,” he said. 

The City Commission set a workshop session for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in which representatives from Wightman, an engineering firm, and Umbaugh, a finance firm, will give presentations on capital improvement and financial plans, respectively. 

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