By ROGER SCHNEIDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Goshen Water Department staff members need the cooperation of the public so they can complete the changeover to automated water meters.
At Monday’s Goshen Board of Public Works meeting, Water Department Superintendent Kent Holdren, said the department needs to install 2,723 more residential meters and 580 commercial meters to complete the project. The problem is, owners of the homes and businesses are not responding to requests for appointments.
“This is where the difficulties are,” Holdren said. “We need to schedule appointments.”
The water department staff was replacing the meters at the rate of 125 per week, but in the past month that has slipped to 75 meters per week because not as many customers are scheduling appointments.
Holdren said the water staff has placed notices on doors about the replacement project multiple times and repeatedly knocked on doors. The staff has also manned phones on Saturdays and Sundays to set up appointments. Beginning next week the water staff will extend installation hours until 5 p.m. The existing cutoff is 4 p.m. As spring approaches, installation hours will be extended until 6 p.m. to take advantage of the increasing daylight in the evening.
The original scope of the project called for replacing 10,325 meters. That total included 8,797 residential meters and 1,529 commercial meters.
The meters send data to the water office and can give an earlier warning if there is a large water leak from a broken pipe. The smart meters are also more accurate than the meters they are replacing, according to Holdren, and eliminate the need for a city worker to go to a home to read the meter. In a few cases, Holdren said older meters require the homeowner to send in their own readings each month. That will be eliminated by the new meters.
Meter installation takes about an hour, Holdren said, but water is turned off for only about 15 minutes.
To help speed up the installation, Holdren asked the board to consider drafting a letter asking residents to cooperate and mentioning city workers have a legal right to access the meters.
Mayor Allan Kauffman, a board member, suggested drafting a letter about the need to change the meters, but not including the legal leverage. That idea was approved by the board.
In other matters the board:
• Received three bids for demolition of the old water storage tank at the water department, 308 N. Fifth St. Bidding were three Michigan companies, Universal Silo Removal, $35,500; Iseler Demolition, $38,700; and Kosinski Demolition, $28,000. The bids will be studied before one is selected.
• Accepted a letter of resignation from fire department Pvt. Tim Harmon.
• Gave Terry Chalkright until May 6 to repair roofing at 317 S. Eighth St.
• Agreed to purchase property along Monroe Street for a bicycle/pedestrian trail to the fairgrounds. The right of way will be purchased from Clifford and Carol Weiland for $30,100.
• Gave permission for work crews to close the north-south alley west of Third Street from Madison Street to Jefferson Street through Feb. 12 so non-historic portions of the Hawks factory building can be demolished.
• Granted Charles Albanese a mechanical license after he passed a city exam.