Town of Pinedale update: More on water meters
by Pinedale Mayor Bob Jones
April 17, 2015
Hello Pinedale this is Bob Jones. I would like to take a couple of minutes to talk about our water meters. As you know, all the new meters are installed and all but a couple are working and sending information to our computers. We are storing this information so we can study the town's water consumption. This data will allow us to set future rates that are fair to the users.
As I have said in the past, many of us felt meters are a waste of money. Letís try to look at the good side of meters and how they can help us. When you look at our water system we are lucky in many respects. Our water is free and our water is very clean. Fremont Lake is above the town, so we don't need to pump the water. I know you may say, if the water is free why do we have to pay so much for it? The answer is very simple. You are paying for a water delivery system. The town has spent millions of dollars and continues to spend millions every year to make sure your water is delivered to you safely. We have approximately 8 million dollars of work left to finish the required upgrades to our water and sewer systems.
The State of Wyoming requires that municipalities charge water and sewer users enough to cover the costs of providing water and sewer services, plus a reserve for future repairs and system component replacements. Establishing the water rate is straight forward for the most part. We know what our expenses are and are about to know our volume consumed every year. The town council will need to figure out what percentage of each bill will be applied to our reserve accounts. It will also need to study what percentage of the total amount of money collected comes from residential, commercial, industrial or government owners, because each category may have its own rate. Once we establish these percentages, the final rates should fall into place. I see the meters being used to capture the water use of unusually large water users. If you are a normal user, I would anticipate you will stay on a fixed rate up to an allotted amount determined in the study. This is why it is very important we get good usage numbers during the study period. With good solid numbers we can make the allotments high enough to allow for bleeding and watering the grass. Along with capturing excessive use, we will also be able to use our meters to detect leaks within our system. As an example, if a major pipe in your house breaks, we will receive an alarm that would indicate excessive water use over a short period of time. We will be able to contact the owner and help identify a problem early.
Please keep in mind most of what I just said, this is in the planning phase and subject to change. This is all going to be subjected to public hearings. The council wants your input. I know a lot of you did not want this project, me included. The reality is, it is what it is. We will have about $3.5 million into the meter project when it is done. Throwing that kind of money out the window is not an option. The council will listen and engage in positive discussions about the final rate details. I look forward to positive, rigorous debate and teamwork in completing this project. Your input is critical to a successful project.