Water meters slated for replacement

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

GATESVILLE – County officials will spend in excess of one million dollars to replace over 4,000 water meters.

Approximately 25 percent of those meters are not accurately registering the amount of water used monthly, which is costing the county roughly $1.3 million a year.

“This is what everyone has been waiting for, a contract proposal for the replacement of the 4,600-plus water meters for ones using radio technology as Mr. Brad Arnold (the county’s Public Works Director) has shared with us on numerous occasions,” said County Manager Scott Sauer when addressing the board of commissioners at their meeting here July 5.

“We have at least 1,000 water meters that are not functioning properly,” Sauer continued. “The financial impact [of the faulty meters] is roughly $110,000 per month that we’re not recovering now. I dare say that if his [Arnold] numbers are close to accurate, we believe this project will pay for itself in less than 14 months.”

The new meters will be installed at the 4,638 locations of service for the Gates County Water System. The new meters can be read remotely.

The lone formal bid came from Consolidated Pipe and Supply Company of Greenville in the amount of $1,400,693.66.

Sauer said the commissioners had previously budgeted $1.2 million of the ARP (American Rescue Plan) funds that the county received from the federal government. He added that a budget amendment would be needed to cover the balance. That $200,693.66 plus 10 percent in a project contingency fund will come from the Water Fund.

“[The contingency fund] will help us if we encounter any bumps in the road [with this project],” Sauer noted.

He added that per the contractor, the timeline for having all water meters replaced is June 1, 2024.

“This is really a no-brainer on our part. One out of every four meters we have are not working properly; we are losing revenue,” stated Commissioner Linda Hofler. “We need to get started on this project.”

Commissioner Chair Althea Riddick said that the board had previously set aside $1.2 million of ARP funds for this project and then the bid came in a bit higher.

“Having the balance and the contingency is very good use of our Water Fund dollars,” Riddick stated. “This project is an initiative of this board to get these water meters replaced.”

“I agree,” said Commissioner Brian Rountree. “We need to move forward with this project.”

“I agree with every point that everyone has made,” said Commission Vice Chair Jonathan Craddock. “We used our ARP funds on improving our infrastructure.”

Hofler made the motion to accept the bid. Rountree offered a second and the motion was approved without objection.

Riddick motioned, with a second from Hofler, to approve $150,000 for contingency purposes for the meter replacement project. That motion was also approved without objection.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal