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Failing water meters to get upgrade
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The Turlock City Council agreed to spend $495,225 to upgrade the city’s failing automated water meter reading system at their Tuesday meeting.
Though under warrantee, the readers are failing at a rate of about eight per day, city staff said. Those failures create additional costs for the city – hiring employees to manually read broken meters – and headaches for customers, making some billing cycles longer than 30 days.
Given the failures, supplier ITRON will pay to replace the failing, 18,200 unit system with an entirely new system based on proven technology. ITRON, credited by council members for “standing behind its product,” will pay for $2.5 million in costs – most of the new hardware, and installation and removal costs – with Turlock paying only for new antennas.
The council could have opted to stick with the existing system at no additional cost, but the system warrantee is due to expire next year. With the new system, the warrantee will stretch for an additional 20 years.
The agreement will return to the City Council for a final vote to appropriate needed funding, as due to an error the item on Tuesday’s agenda did not include the appropriation from Turlock’s Water Enterprise Fund reserves.


On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:

·         Accepted $245,652 in unexpected local transportation funds, which will be used to repair Turlock’s roadways.
The funding came via the Stanislaus County Council of Governments, which is tasked with splitting state transportation funding among cities. The LTF funding is to be used to support the operation of local bus systems, but leftover funding – or funding received in excess of anticipated revenues – is split among cities for streets and roads.
The new funding brings Turlock’s total LTF funding for the year up to $381,000, well above the $200,000 included in the budget.

Agreed to relinquish $354,211 of a $600,000 construction donation to the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation. The move brought 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.Approved the use of inmates in various jobs and departments throughout the city, via the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office Alternative Work Program.Appropriated $20,000 to hire an outside labor negotiator to conduct negotiations with all city bargaining units for the 2012-2013 budget year.Finalized an ordinance amendment to no longer require concrete or asphalt fire access roads for construction projects. The roads will still be required prior to final inspection, but will not be required prior to constructing a building.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.