Water meter costs climbing in Armstrong

Armstrong’s water meter installation will cost more than originally planned.

Armstrong’s water meter installation will cost more than originally planned.

Helping to increase the price tag are townhouse complexes and crawlspaces.

“Like any large project, there have been some anomalies and a few surprises,” said Coun. John Trainor, chairperson of the city’s public works committee, about the new costs associated with the meter installations, which began in 2012.

Trainor explained, through a report from city chief financial officer Terry Martens, that 21 multi-family residential complexes were originally identified for meter installations, comprising 434 total residential units in strata and rental complexes, and one mobile home park.

Corix Utilities’ technicians (company installing the meters) have done numerous site visits to assess each situation.

Where there is a common entrance to a building, such as an apartment or condo-style building, an indoor heated utility room exists where a large meter can be installed with little difficulty.

The problem is at townhouse complexes where there are no heated utility rooms. As a result, the large master meters would have to be installed underground at a cost of somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 per installation.

“Corix is recommending individual meters in these complexes as this alternative would be considerably more economical,” wrote Martens.

That would mean 200 additional meters would be added, with a net financial impact to the city of $66,500.

Council voted unanimously to add the 200 new additional meters with funding coming from the city’s water reserve. They also voted to extend Corix’s contract two months to November 30, 2013 to help complete the installations.

As for crawlspaces, the contract with Corix has a provision for 150 installations in crawlspaces at $35 per installation.

To date, a total of 461 crawlspaces have been recorded.

“At this rate, the crawlspace component of the contract will be around $15,000 over contract by the end of the project,” wrote Martens. “The total amount of the Corix contract is $604,553 which includes $48,670 for the extra items over and above the actual meters and simple installations.”

Martens estimated that an additional $40,000 will be spent by the end of the project and it will be absorbed by the contingency.

Corix began installing meters last August. As of May 15, the project is about 78.3 per cent complete with about 350 meters left to install.