Two Harbors gets advice on water meter installThe Two Harbors utilities committee is getting some assistance from the Minnesota Rural Water Association in implementing a plan to install water meters at homes and businesses in the city.
By: Brittany Berrens, Lake County News Chronicle
The Two Harbors utilities committee is getting some assistance from the Minnesota Rural Water Association in implementing a plan to install water meters at homes and businesses in the city.
Frank Stuemke of the association was at last week’s committee meeting to answer questions from committee members and other city employees about how to make the installation process go as smoothly as possible.
He offered a thick guideline booklet with recommendations on everything from recommended parts to procedural instructions for installing meters. Stuemke said he has seen a lot of towns and cities go through the process and has learned from a lot of mistakes. “A lot of careful decisions need to be made,” he said.
Committee members had been considering allowing citizens to install their own meters through a plumber of their choice. Stuemke warned strongly against the idea, saying that the more plumbers who are working on the project, the more inconsistencies there could be between meters. He also said having citizens take on a city-implemented plan to install meters could result in safety liability issues and unwanted lawsuits for the city.
Stuemke talked not only about the intensive process of installing the meters but also about funding it. Stuemke said that there were no grants available from Minnesota Rural Development, and that the city would likely need to fund the project through a 15-year note, which would be used to work with a state bond. The cost of issuance for a $500, 000 note is about $20,000, with about a 3.25 to 3.5 percent interest rate. Committee members did not discuss which way the city might go during the meeting.
The installation of the meters will take about a year, with another year following installation to collect figures for a data study. Committee and city council member Steve Detlefsen was worried about getting the installation going because a conservation rate study had to be completed by 2013. “We’re just squeaking by,” he said.
Committee members concluded the meeting without taking any action on installation or funding for the water meter project.