September 21, 2014

Lacking quorum, Standish council talks water

Interested in adding streetlights to US-23, M-61 intersection

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — Though the Standish City Council was unable to take any official action during its Sept. 17 meeting due to too many absent members, the remaining members discussed water meter developments with City Manager Curt Hillman for the future.

The Standish council has been planning on replacing the water meter heads of all meters in the city with new radio ones. These would allow city workers to read the meters while driving down the road, without having to get out and physically inspect the meter.

Hillman said the council had previously approved going forward with one company that is offering to sell and install the new meter heads, but decided to open it to a formal bid process to follow the proper procedure.

The city received only one bid, which was from that same company, Hillman said. The total cost for equipment and installation was $173,000, he said, which was the same as the initial cost he was given.

While the city can cover some of that cost via the sewer and water fund, which Hillman said has a certain amount set aside for system upgrades, the city would likely look into borrowing the remaining amount.

The city has been working on getting new meter heads since early this year, and Hillman said there was a positive outcome to the lengthy process: technology has improved on the radio meter heads that would allow for an even faster system down the line.

“Down the road, we can upgrade them and get a fixed-band system, where we stick up a couple towers around town and read all the meters at any time,” Hillman said. “We will be one of the first cities in the state to get that.”

An alternative system, which would also allow the city to read any meter in the city at any time from city hall, would cost around $350,000 and would require the complete replacement of all existing water meters. Hillman said that proposal was not being considered.

The only council members at the meeting were Mayor Mark Winslow and Councilwomen Violet Cook and Tosha Tunney. The council needs at least four of its seven members in attendance to approve city business, but Hillman said he would instruct the bidder to go ahead with the paperwork given the council’s previous approval for the same work, price, and company. The bid would need to be formally approved at the council’s next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 15.

Hillman also said he was working on adding additional streetlights at the four corners part of town, where M-61 and US-23 intersect.

“I’m still working on a streetlight at the four corners with Consumers Energy and (the Michigan Department of Transportation),” Hillman said. “I think it will happen.”

Hillman said he believes MDOT wants the city to put up a new pole or two for the lights, as the existing ones are MDOT property. He said MDOT does not seem to want to have to share their pole with Consumers Energy.

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