Government

Town Board OKs Bond for Water Meter Project

081922d9fe23a6b7191d_TOWN_BOARD_BUDGET.jpg
The Carmel Town Board Credits: Bob Dumas
081922d9fe23a6b7191d_TOWN_BOARD_BUDGET.jpg

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - A plan to replace traditional-style water meters in the town of Carmel’s water districts with ones that use radio frequencies to broadcast information back to a computerized information collection center has been given the green light by the Town Board.

After a June 28 public hearing on the proposal, the board unanimously approved a $3,350,000 bond for the automatic meter infrastructure upgrade with a maximum borrowing period of 40 years.

The bond payments will be split among the town’s 13 water districts based on the number of customers per district. Water District 2, which is the hamlet of Carmel, has the highest apportionment—54 percent—and is responsible for $1.8 million of the bond.

Sign Up for E-News

Back when the idea was first proposed in February, Supervisor Ken Schmitt said the town had been discussing the project for about four years.

“Once these are installed the homeowner won’t be responsible [for filing their own meter readings],” Schmitt said then. “Right now, a majority of homeowners are not reading their meters. So, we are issuing estimated water bills and, in a lot of cases, they are wrong. So, with these new radio-read water meters, the signal will be sent right to a data terminal and the information is read right off that. We are actually going into the 21st century as far as water meters are concerned.”

Mahopac resident Michael Preziosi spoke at the June public hearing, asking the board if the plan to installed the new meters was a “knee-jerk reaction to capture unaccounted for revenue in the water districts.”

“It’s actually the opposite,” Councilman Frank Lombardi responded. “It’s to help homeowners. A lot of people at the time of [the sale of their homes] didn’t capture all those years of water usage and then all of a sudden, they get a water bill when they are about to close on their house for three, four, five thousand dollars. And then they are like, ‘Wow!’ So instead of the bulk payment all at one time, each year they will pay [exactly] what they’ve used.”

Preziosi wondered if some of the smaller water districts could use available funds in the budget to pay off their shares of the bond.

“Some of these community wells are servicing less than 150 homes,” he said. “Has there been any evaluation of potentially using any fund balance for some of the smaller districts so we don’t have to bond. I don’t know if there is revenue in each of the districts; my district per se is only 119 homes. Is there enough in the fund reserves to pay for this without having to bond?”

Town comptroller Mary Ann Maxwell said that the entire project must be bonded, but then each district could use fund balance money to pay off its share.

“Once it got bonded, we would look at the fund balance in each district and pay off that particular part of the bond faster than another district that couldn’t afford it,” she said. “A healthier district could pay it back faster.”

Preziosi also asked if the new meters were really necessary for the smaller water districts.

“To me, if the water meter is working and the fees are being collected, is putting in an automatic meter really benefitting these smaller community wells?” he said.

Schmitt reiterated that the new type of meter would mean more accurate bookkeeping and billing no matter the size of the water district.

“Part of the problem has been there is a good percentage of people who are not reading their meters [and sending back the card] so they are getting an estimated bill,” he explained. “The comptroller’s office sends out a card and some fill it out and are billed accurately for the amount of water that they use during that period, but others don’t. So, this will make it more efficient for both the town and [the homeowner].”

Councilwoman Suzy McDonough who, along with Councilman John Lupinacci, spearheaded the idea for the new meters, said the new technology can help people keep their bills lower and even detect fraud.

“It can help you detect if you have a leak,” she said. “You can look at your water usage online and if you see it’s higher than usual [you may realize you have a leak.]”

McDonough said that one time a Mahopac family went on vacation and while they were gone their neighbor tapped into their water spigot to fill their pool. She said the new meters will uncover such excessive use and reveal the fraud.

“You can get an alert on your phone if something is happening,” she said.

Town engineer Rich Franzetti said that now that the bond has been passed there will be a waiting period. After the waiting period is over, he will reveal the specs for new meters and the project will go out to bid. The bids will then be vetted and a vendor will be chosen. He estimated that the project will roll out sometime in early 2018. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Watergate Analogies Apply to Obama, Not Trump

My liberal counterpart in this publication is about my age. Maybe I am the baby of the group, but we all have had the same seminal experiences of our youth: Vietnam, the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are what shaped our political perspectives.

Looking back, maybe, just maybe those who thought Nixon was really deserving of his fate cannot be faulted for thinking so. It was once ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Honoring Our Veterans’ Freedom of Speech

Memorial Day is over, but writing about America’s veterans doesn’t have an expiration date.

My dad, George, was as proud a veteran as you’d meet. He served in the Army in World War II and loved our country no less than the next veteran. I am proud of him, as is my brother, Robert, who served in the Air Force.

Growing up, the one vacation we took each year was spent with ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Mouthing Off

When I went for oral surgery last spring, the doctor told me he could only do one half of my mouth that day or I wouldn’t be able to eat for two weeks. Considering it was almost bathing suit season, I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. But he convinced me otherwise, and told me if I was really gung ho about getting it all done, I could come back in a month or so to have ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness