HEBRON – Council members unanimously agreed Sept. 26 to spend up to $48,000 on engineering services from Bird+Bull to begin the water meter replacement project.
Total cost is somewhere between $500 – 700,000, Mayor Clifford Mason told council members. A total of $750,000 has been budgeted.
Part of the engineering services will be to determine how far to go with new technology. For example, automatic shutoffs are available. So is e-mail notification of unusually high water use.
Hebron has about 900 water customers; some 830 are residential users. Meters typically have a 20-year life and most Hebron meters are 20- 40 years old. Every meter will be replaced which means contractors will have to have access to all existing meters.
There will be no additional cost to customers. “Customers have already paid for this,” Mason explained.
The plan is to bid out the project yet this year and to have the work done next spring. Hebron will seek proposals from contractors to install the new meters. Plans are to pick three separate companies that have been checked out by village engineers and the police department. Customers will then choose one of the three to install their new meter.
The new meters will closely monitor water usage, allowing customers to be notified by a yet to be determined method of abnormal usage. Mason believes it will significantly reduce individual requests for water bill adjustments caused by undetected leaks or unauthorized use.
The now week-long monthly meter reading will be replaced by radio transmitters on every meter.
In other business Sept. 26, Fire Chief Randy Weekly updated council members on the fire station expansion/renovation project. The addition on the north side of the station includes two new vehicle bays and living quarters with a new kitchen for firefighters. Electric power and natural gas were hooked up on Sept. 25. Weekly expects work to start Oct. 1 on a punch list with firefighters moving in before the end of the month. Once the move is made, the contractor will begin renovations on the existing station. The former sparse living quarters will be turned into a training room and offices. The kitchen that was added to the back of the building will be removed.
After a 12-minute executive or closed session to consider the purchase of property, council members unanimously authorized negotiations with Realtor Kevin Ours and the property owners to purchase the former used car lot on the northwest corner of High and Main streets. The discovery of some environmentally contamination soil there derailed earlier plans for the Evans Foundation to purchase the property for the village to use a park or public square.
Fiscal officer Marty Snavely told council members that the village was facing a 15 percent rate increase for its Medical Mutual health insurance plan. Told that increase was unacceptable, the company countered with 9.8 percent hike.
That prompted Hebron to seek another carrier which meant employees had to fill out on-line in- surance applications. That process cut the increase to .44 percent.
Snavely told council members that Ohio Public Entity Consortium projected a 1.4 percent reduction (about $7,000 a year), but the village first had to name Ohio Insurance Services as its agent of record. When Snavely asked for direction, council members balked at taking that step, opting to stay with a firm tiny price increase from a familiar company.
Council’s next meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the municipal complex.