Town to Bring Water-Billing Methods into 21st Century

Supervisor Ken Schmitt, left, says the town wants to bring its water-billing methods into the 21st century. Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Homeowners in Carmel/Mahopac will no longer have to go into their basements or crawl spaces to read their water meters and then send the numbers via postcard back to town hall.

At last week’s Town Board meeting, Supervisor Ken Schmitt announced that the town is about to undertake a project that will switch out all the old-style water meters currently found in homes to ones that will use radio frequencies that broadcast the information back to a computerized information collection center.

Town engineer Rich Franzetti is developing the necessary plans and specifications for the new automatic meter infrastructure for all the Carmel water districts.

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Schmitt said the town has been discussing the project for about four years and is ready to move forward.

“Once these are installed the homeowner won’t be responsible [for filing meter readings],” Schmitt said. “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 the 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.”

Schmitt said that many other municipalities are switching over to these types of meters.

“There are more efficiencies associated with these types of meters as opposed to the old style where you have to read it yourself and send it in,” the supervisor said. “The engineering department has already done a lot of work on this. They have met with vendors who supply these types of meters so we have a lot of information that has been developed. Now, we are ready to move forward and progress to the next level.”

The cost of the project is still unknown as the engineering department continues its research into the specifications.

“The town will have to develop a set of bid specifications and then you will have to fund it across the 13 [water] districts,” town attorney Greg Folchetti told the board. “So, there will have to be authorized borrowing and hopefully your bidding will be within your funding allocation. If not, you can go back for more[funding]. But hopefully, the estimate will be something we’ll be able to work with. Right now, you are just developing the plans and specs for the installation of the meters.”

Town comptroller Mary Ann Maxwell said there are slightly more than 4,000 accounts—including both residential and commercial—that will need to be serviced with the new meters.

Schmitt said the town’s goal is to complete the project this year.

“But [the meters] still have be installed, so the homeowners will have to allow access to their homes,” he said.

Schmitt said the new metering system is something that will be of benefit to everyone—both homeowners and town officials.

“It is more effective and more efficient. It’s the future,” he said. “Technology is now part of water meters.”

Schmitt said the Town Board will keep homeowners updated as it moves forward with the project.

“They will be made aware,” he said.

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