The Union Recorder

Local News

July 18, 2013

Newer meters might increase county water bills


Baldwin County Water and Sewer Superintendent Jason Kidd discussed rates, goals, water loss and improvements during the County Commissioners work session Tuesday.

• Bigger water bills

Complaints of higher than usual water bills have an explanation.

The county purchased 1,000 new water meters back in December of 2012 to update and start a more efficient water program, according to Kidd.

Meters must be replaced every seven to 10 years, preventing lost county revenue and inaccurate volume to bill ratios.

Since the start of 2013, the county department replaced 400 of the older meters on Daphney Street, Johnson Avenue, Joy Street, Frazier Drive, Jenkins Street, Marion Street, Oak Drive, Randall Drive, Richard Drive, Thompson Circle, Town Street and Youngblood Road.

Kidd cited one switchover on Kings Road where a high water user’s bill bumped from $63 to more than $400 with an accurate meter. The water superintendent guessed 60 percent of county meters are more than 10 years old with some as old as 47 in the area.

Generally, these meters read at best 80 percent of the true usage, according to Kidd.

The county continues purchasing meters 500 at a time to replace the thousands of out of date models that lose revenue over time.

Commission Chair Sammy Hall, District 3, wants citizens to understand the issue. Currently, the financial losses fall back to the county.

“This isn’t something we are trying to do to punish people. We are just trying to improve our system and get an accurate reading,” Hall said Tuesday.

Commissioner Henry Craig, District 4, said citizens shouldn’t be surprised by higher payments if they don’t responsibly use the resource.

“Our water bills will go up based on that the new meters will read accurately what the resident is using. The county is paying for the water and not receiving adequate compensation for it. We know that,” Craig said.

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