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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Carolina Beach Gets Zero Interest Loan For Automated Water Meters

Carolina Beach Gets Zero Interest Loan For Automated Water Meters

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council approved financing a project up to $1.3 million dollars to replace older water meters throughout town with newer meters compatible with an automated meter reading system. The Council was notified recently the Town received noticed of intent to fund the Town's Fast Track Loan application for the new automated water meter system from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Public Water Supply.
Jerry Haire - Project Manager for the Town - explained to the Council earlier this week, "This 0% interest loan for $1.5 million is offered through the Drinking Water Supply State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Loan Program. It is estimated that this loan could save the Town approximately $225,000 in interest for a conventional loan over a 10 year period. Final approval by the Local Government Commission (LGS) has been scheduled."
Haire explained, "The DWSRF Program requires that the Town adopt a resolution establishing a verifiable percentage goal of at least 10% for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation in State funded projects involving $300,000 or more in construction."
He explained, "This goal will be part of the required Minority Business Outreach Plan currently being developed by staff. "
Other requirements for the Town include maintaining a database for minority businesses in the area for notification when bid opportunities arise and to ensure DBE's are made aware of contracting opportunities to the fullest extent practicable through outreach and recruitment activities.
Haire explained, "The majority of these compliance activities are conducted as part of the bidding process by the Town's engineer."
The Council will consider adoption of a resolution required by the loan program at their May 14, meeting at 6:30PM.
The Town is preparing to replace older water meters and install a remote system that allows meter readings to be reported to Town Hall electronically rather than taken manually by personnel walking the streets.
The plan would essentially create a town-wide network allowing the billing department to monitor and log
water use. Town officials anticipate the new meters and reporting system will improve accuracy and efficiency.
The Town is not raising water and sewer rates. Customers with meters that have not been reporting accurately will see their monthly water
and sewer bills go up. Older meters often give inaccurate readings.
The plan will save money by utilizing employees in other areas rather than walking around reading 4,500 meters each month. The Town has been working on a way to resolve a high rate of water loss within their system for several years.
Shuttleworth said, "These meters that we tested, we had 19 meters. We installed half of them and we saw a
million gallons of new water calculations in a 90 or 120-day period. So we captured a million gallons that hadn't been" previously recorded by the older meters.
Ten large meters serving commercial multi-family buildings have already been replaced. The smaller residential meters will be installed as part of the larger project.
Shell said the Town will have to visit the Local Government Commission in Raleigh to present the plan and seek approval. After approval from the commission, bids can be accepted and public hearings have to be held by the Town Council before moving forward.
Council member Sarah Friede said, "People have gotten a lot of water over the years for free from the Town. Not everybody, but some certainly have."