FAIRFIELD — Residents and business owners may soon be able to track their water usage and receive monthly bills.
Staff is recommending that the Fairfield City Council approve a deal to purchase 28,000 electronic water meters and registers. The deal with Metron-Farnier is not to exceed $3.6 million and would eventually save money in the long run and improve customer service, according to staff reports.
That money is budgeted in the Water Improvement Fund, according to staff reports.
The council will also consider reclassifying the job titles of meter readers, who would be called water service representatives and would serve more of a customer service role. According to staff reports, two employees would be eliminated once the project is fully implemented. That move would save the city $115,000 per year initially and up to $200,000 per year when the project is completed.
The city has been planning to automate the reading of water meters for several years to reduce employee costs and move to a monthly billing cycle. It would also allow for customers to track their usage in real time and make it easier to discover water leaks.
Four companies were bidding for the project, but Metron-Farnier is being recommended because of price and the type of equipment they can provide, according to staff. Reports said a price still needs to be decided and that several purchases will be made over a two-year period.
For the residential side, staff recommends that only the heads be replaced, rather than a whole meter. The average age of residential meters is only seven or eight years old, with a life of up to 25 years, reports said. The purchase of the 27,000 heads is estimated at $2.7 million.
Commercial and industrial meters differ from residential meters and have an average age of 18 years, with a shelf life up to 25 years. That includes all meters that are 1.5 inches and larger. Instead of retrofitting the meters, staff recommends replacing 1,000 of them at a cost not to exceed $855,000.
The council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber at City Hall, 1000 Webster St.
Danny Bernardini can be reached at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.