In February, City Council approved increased water rates for residents and businesses to offset the cost of citywide growth and $500 million worth of water system upgrades over the next decade. Since the raises, city staff has realized they are losing money selling new customers water meters that are cheaper than cost.
For instance, it costs the city $265.40 to install a 3/4-inch water meter at a new home. However, the city would charge only $232 for the meter, resulting in a $33.40 loss, according to a memo from Utility Billing Manager Lindsey Sinibaldi.
Additionally, when a water meter is damaged for the first time, the city traditionally would repair or replace it for free. Added up, the city loses about $49,000 annually selling cheaper water meters and repairing damaged ones, according to the memo.
Under the unanimously approved ordinance, water meter charges have increased to meet the cost to the city so they are no longer sold to customers at a loss. Additionally, customers, not the city, will now be responsible for paying to repair damaged water meters.
Common water meter damage includes breaking an antenna when struck by a lawn mower. When that happens, the city will replace only the broken antenna at a cost of about $25 instead of replacing the entire meter.