Representatives from Henard Utility products proposed a new cellular-based water meter reading system to the council on Tuesday night during the Carlisle City Council meeting.
According to Henard Utility representative Blake Culbreath, the new Badger Meter system, BEACON, which launched in January, will eliminated the use fixed based towers throughout the city to read water meters. The previously proposed water meter reading system by Henard was designed to send information from the meters to the water department computer, eliminating the need for man power to read the meters. While the new program will still eliminate the need for water meters to be physically read, Culbreath said it will have an Amazon web based server and be available to customers online.
With the new BEACON advanced Metering Analytics system, Greg Waltman, a Badger Meter representative said residents will be able to connect to the server or though a mobile device to check their hourly intervals of water usage and account information. Waltman said the system is proactive and will be set to alert the internal water department or resident of leak indications as well as offer trouble shooting solutions to users.
Mayor Ray Glover said the new system would be just as beneficial to residents as it would be to the city. He said with many residents on fixed incomes, people would have the opportunity to better manage their water usage as well as catch problems immediately, instead of when they get their water bills.
“I don’t know how many times people have come here with $200 water bills, being on social security and their commode is running,” Glover said. “It just breaks my heart.”
The public works department currently spends three days per month reading water meters.
Since the system will have a 20-year warranty, Culbreath said the technology will be kept current. He said meters will be replaced with a new upgrade in 10 years at no charge. While there will be no yearly or software upgrade fees with purchase of the new system, compared to the old one, he said their will be a minimum monthly subscription of no more than $3. Culbreath said the subscription cost will be determined by the amount of systems installed but once the price is determined, it would be locked in for 10 years..
The initial start up cost for the new meters is $245 each. With an estimated 1,000 water meters, the start up cost would be around $245,000.
Henard Utility products owner Mike Henard offered the city a trial option of 10 meters, hooked into the system for four months for $3,500. Henard said the software usage subscription would be free of charge during the four month trial.
No action was take by the council.
In other business, Glover asked the council about accepting a land donation of an empty plot on West Fifth Street. Glover said the owner would like the 150- by 75-foot property to be turned into a community garden.
“Personally I don’t think it’s big enough for a garden,” Glover said.
Alderman W.H. Kitler suggested the city master garderns be contacted to see if they would be willing to maintain the property.
After council discussion, City Attorney Mike Stuart suggested the owner present a written description of the current and future expectations for the land. No action was taken by the council.
Glover said he has been approached about putting a Civil War marker in Carlisle to represent battle at Ashley Station. He said the city would be responsible for the marker, which would cost $700-$800. Glover said the location of the marker will need to be determined. He suggested the marker be placed at Rock Island park.
“I’m thinking Rock Island Park would be good,” Glover said. “I think it [the marker] would be something pretty neat.”
No action was taken by the council.
Resident Sonny Skillern, who was not present during the meeting, was on the agenda for the evening to discuss drainage problems on South Court. Despite Skillern’s absence, Glover moved forward with discussion of the problems. According to Glover, the drainage problems in town are becoming more apparent when the city receives two inches or more of rain fall.
“We are going to keep working on it,” Glover said.
Glover told resident Charles Mathis, who is having drainage issues on his property, that the Lonoke County Judge has agreed to dig the ditch out across from Mathis’ home, which is on the edge of city limits.
Water and Sewer superintendent Jeff Ward and assistant superintendent David Walter II told the council some of the drainage issues are the responsibility of the home owner. They said leaves and limbs must be cleaned from the ditches and culverts to allow water to flow properly.
Kittler said there are some elderly residents who are unable to rake their yards and ditches to get the debris to the side of the road. Glover said while arrangements can be made to clean out some ditches under certain circumstances, city workers are not responsible for nor can they clean out every ditch in the city.
According to Ward, when limbs and leaves are raked to the side of the street, the debris must be separated into two separate piles for pick up. He the leaf equipment and limb chipping equipment are two separate machines. Ward said unless the piles are not properly separated and put by the road, they will not be picked up.
“That is the whole problem,” Ward said.
Glover said city workers will begin logging locations where limbs or leaves are not picked up during routes and note why they were not collected.
Ward said once the weather allows, the city crew will be resume digging out ditches in the city.
“We know we have some problems,” Glover said. “So we are going to work through them.”
Alderman Chad Bennett said there are parents who would like to see the observation of Halloween moved to Saturday for Carlisle residents. He said the proposal was to observe Halloween the Saturday prior to Oct. 31 unless Halloween falls on a Saturday. Glover formed a committee of Jon Plafcan, Ann Anderson and Bennett to discuss matter further before the proposal is brought back before the council for a vote.
The city jail is in the final stages of completion on requirements made by the Fire Marshal and Jail Standards before its official opening. Carlisle Police Chief Eric Frank said appliances have been ordered from Randy’s Home and Auto for the kitchen area of the police department. He said the appliances are scheduled to arrive within the next week or two. Once the appliances are installed, Frank said the Fire Marshal, Jail Standards and the Health Department must be called in to give final approval before the jail will be fully operational.
With the arrival of spring, Glover said he would like to hire Greg Rennard as contract labor to water trees and flowers from May 5 through Oct. 31. He said he would like to pay him $120 per week for a total of $2,880.
Alderman Mike Walker said contract labor over $2,000 should be bid out and not hired, according to his interpretation of the law.
After some discussion, Kittler, Ann Anderson, Jon Plafcan, Bennett and Eddie Moore accepted the recommendation to hire Rennard contingent on the approval by city attorney Mike Stuart. Mike Walker voted against the recommendation.
Also during the meeting the council unanimously voted to:
-Amend the 2013 budget, to balance
-Purchase two new police vehicles and equipment up to $50,000 through a loan for the max of five years
-Pay Arkansas Municipal League invoices for property and vehicle insurance
-Advertise for trash service bids
-Pay invoices of $4,000 and $7,000 from Elder Drilling for work done at the water plant.
-Close the law enforcement checking account and move the remaining $1.20 into the general fund.
The next Carlisle City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on May 20 at the Civic Center.