Council approves digital water meter deal

Lawton_The city council approved a proposal to borrow more than $10 million for new digital water meters at Tuesday night's meeting.

They're going to be replacing about 30,000 of the old meters, but the new ones will increase accuracy.  Residents will get billed for exactly what they use, and the meters will help estimate and account for water used in city buildings--which aren't all metered. It'll also take less manpower and less energy to check the meters each month.

City finance director Rick Endicott told the council the new meters will detect leaks, and they'll be 98-100% percent accurate. The old meters are less than 90% accurate.  "The majority of the meters that we're replacing are well over 15 years old," Endicott said.   "So, the accuracy in those meter readings should produce a more accurate billing of your water usage."

Endicott said accurate billing should cause higher revenue, and it will be more energy-efficient, cutting costs. The company doing the replacements guarantees the new meters will pay for themselves.  City staff reviewed similar contracts in place in Enid and Muskogee before recommending approval of this proposal.  It passed, 5-1, with Councilman Bob Shanklin casting the lone "no" vote.

City officials hope to begin the replacement process this summer. It will take about 18 months, but they expect everyone will have new digital meters by 2010