Armstrong water meters delayed, but remain on tap

The project was to be completed by Dec. 31 but it’s now expected the project will be done by summer

Water meter installation in Armstrong has dried up for the time being.

The project was to be completed by Dec. 31 but it’s now expected that the project will be completed by the summer of 2013.

“While the project was approved earlier in the year, it didn’t commence until August due to delays in mutual agreement of the language of the contract between the city and Corix Utilities (installers),” wrote Terry Martens, chief financial officer for the city.

Martens also said Corix encountered staffing shortage issues with only two full-time installers dedicated to the Armstrong water meter contract since August. Martens expected five full-time installers would be in place this month.

Armstrong receives monthly progress reports from Corix and, as of Oct. 15, the water meter installation project was approximately 15 per cent complete.

The city had not received a report for the period between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15 prior to Marten’s report.

“It is estimated that the project will have been 22 per cent completed by Nov. 15 and 38 per cent completed by Dec. 15,” said Martens.

The delay will also shorten the amount of time for the city’s planned “shadow billing” to take place before the planned implementation of full consumption-based billing in 2014 unless the target year is deferred.

Had the project finished as planned, at the end of December, the city would have had the full 2013 to bill the old-fashioned way, a flat rate charge on the property taxes, but would read the water meters twice during the year and send out a consumption statement to all residents to show what they’ve used in that six-month period and what their bill would have been (shadow bill) had the city gone to a full consumption billing system.

“Because the project is now delayed until next summer, six months of shadow billing isn’t enough in my opinion,” said Martens.

Council voted unanimously to defer full consumption-based billing until 2015, which gives residents 18 months to gauge their water consumption rather than only six months.

Council also gave unanimous approval to extending a contract with Corix Utilities to Sept. 30, 2013.

Coun. John Trainor was absent from the meeting.