The Turlock City Council will consider a $495,225 upgrade to the city's failing automated water meter reading system at their next meeting on Tuesday.
Since installation, the electronic readers have suffered from poor reliability. Supplier ITRON is honoring the warranty, the city says, but still has 12,000 older readers with about eight failing each day.
In 2010, ITRON replaced 2,500 readers at their own cost with a newer, more reliable model. But those failures still cost the city in terms of labor, with manual meter reading required until meters can be replaced.
The ongoing failures leave the city with two options: either have ITRON replace older meter readers with new ones in the current system, at ITRON's expense; or replace the current system with an entirely new system based on proven technology, at the aforementioned $495,225 cost.
The newer system would provide Turlock with a 20-year warranty and the newest technology, with improved reporting and reduced labor required to operate. ITRON would also remove the old system and provide and install most new equipment - save for antennas, computer hardware and software licenses, and billing software - at their own expense of approximately $2.5 million.
Updating the existing system would bring reliability only to 99 percent, the city says, and would leave the city with no warrantee, should the replaced meters continue to fail.
Turlock city staff recommends opting for the new system, despite the cost, due to the new 20-year warranty. The staff report also notes that ITRON's willingness to replace the old system at their own expense indicates "their lack of faith in the old product."
The upgrade would be funded with available Water Enterprise Fund reserves.
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Agree to relinquish $354,211 of a $600,000 construction donation to the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation. The move would bring the total relinquished to $554,211, with the city retaining $45,789 for change orders requested by the foundation.
The foundation donated the $600,000 to help fund the construction of the renovated Carnegie Arts Center, but the city agreed to spend that money only after all other funding was exhausted. While a notice of completion has yet to be issued for the project, the city is confident it will not exceed $7.2 million in other funding.
• Approve the use of inmates in various jobs and departments throughout the city, via the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office Alternative Work Program.
• Appropriate $20,000 to hire an outside labor negotiator to conduct negotiations with all city bargaining units for the 2012-2013 budget year.
• Finalize an ordinance amendment which would no longer require concrete or asphalt fire access roads for construction projects. The roads would still be required prior to final inspection, but would not be required prior to constructing a building.
• Abandon right-of-way on Lexington Avenue between Florence Street and W. Olive Avenue, and alley right-of-way between North Laurel Street and Lexington Avenue, as required to proceed with construction of the new Public Safety Facility.
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