Results of new water meters unclear
By Clay Schuldt
On July 22, the Caledonia City Council discussed changes to the city’s water utilities. With the switch to monthly readings, Councilmember Dewayne Schroeder asked if the city residents had changed water usage habits.
City accountant Stephanie Mann said that current figures did not show a significant change in water usage. Mann felt the new meters had allowed for more accurate readings and had improved the city’s cash flow but was not seeing a large increase in revenue. Mann suggested that the month-to-month reading has made residents more aware of their usage and has led to water cutbacks.
Prior to the changeover, water usage was recorded quarterly and payment averaged out over the next few months. With the old meters, some residents were not turning in readings, requiring the city to estimate usage, which could have been higher or lower.
Mann believes the new meters have evened out bills that were estimated too high or too low. One of the major benefits of changing over to the radio meters is the city is able to catch water leaks sooner rather three months after the fact.
The overall benefit from the new water meters is difficult to calculate at this time because last year’s figures are based on quarterly readings rather than monthly, city staff said. It is too soon to see if the radio meters represent a cost savings.
Storage building request
Ralph Burg made a request to construction of a 26-foot-by-30-foot tire storage building on 218 East Grove St. The building will be one foot from the west side property line and approximately 26 feet from the south property line.
The council approved the application on the grounds that the property was a commercial zone area and variances were unnecessary.
Verizon antenna inspection
An Engineering Review and Inspection will be conducted during the Verizon antenna modification on tower 1.
The antenna review is estimated at $1,500 with inspection services estimated at $7,100. The inspection will include a preconstruction meeting, two visits to a local painting shop, a welding inspection at the tower and two trips for coating inspection.
Other council business
• A paving and hot patching project was approved, with Mayor Bob Burns abstaining. The project will be done by Mathy Construction as they are currently in town and available.
• A pay request from Visu-Sewer in the amount of $14,066.61 was approved. A change order from Visu-Sewer was also approved that lowered the contract cost by $266.50.
• An application for off-site gambling at the Fairgrounds was granted to the American Legion as well as an application from St. Mary’s for an exempt permit at the annual bazaar on Oct. 27, 2013.
• The Crooked Creek ambulance subsidy contract was received and approved by the council.
• The city is seeking quotes for a new air conditioning unit for the City Hall and library. Of the two units in the building, one no longer works and the second is creating too much noise.
• The Caledonia School District crossing agreement with the city was tabled until after the council heard back from Superintendent Ben Barton. The council wished to know how many crossing guards were being used for the upcoming school year and their locations.
• The American Legion Post 191 made a donation in the amount of $1,950 to Caledonia for the purchase of a public address system at the Memorial Baseball park. The council accepted the donation with thanks.