City of Bethel to investigate cost of water meters

by Ben Matheson on January 15, 2014

Bethel’s city council took first step towards metering water use at its meeting last night. The council asked staff to investigate the cost of buying and installing water meters to measure both hauled and piped customers.

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In the people to be heard section, Bethel Resident Dave Trantham says that everything else he buys is measured.

“If we search hard enough and work together hard enough we might find some solution so we pay for what we’ve received. I’ll be conservative and use as little as I can,” said Trantham.

Mayor Joe Klejka emphasized that the real cost is not the actual water.

“The cost driver is delivery systems, by far, the majority. But as Mr. Trantham has mentioned in the past, and as I started to consider more and more and more, there is a cost to water, had it is a portion of your bill and it’s probably about 10 percent of you bill. That’s not insignificant and for some people it’d be smaller part of your bill,” said Klejka.

That would include a look at electronic meters in order to save on the costs of manpower. City sub does have water meters, but there is apparently a computer system issue that prevents them from working.

Only 25 percent of the city is zoned right now, but that could grow. The council had the option to zone Kasayuli and Larson subdivisions, but moved to postpone it until the next meeting. The zoning overlay would require things like setbacks, and 10,000 square feet lot size minimums. It would also limit the number of structures per lot and limit homes to two stories.

There were not letters sent out homeowners. And Vice Mayor Rick Robb asked for more outreach from the planning department.

“…to contact as many property owners and tell them that this is going on,” said Robb.

The residential planned unit development would not be permanent, it can be changed. The zoning would allow the city to regulate land use in those areas.

The council also directed staff to look at options to connect Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway with Ptarmigan Street and look at costs and pros and cons of each option. There’s not money set specifically aside for that.

All city owned vehicles will have a unique number is big enough to be visible. Council member Mark Springer mentioned that he’s gotten many calls about city vehicles that appear to used at times for purely personal uses. The council directed the administration set up the numbering system.

The council did not advance an ordinance that would allow businesses or groups to lease space in the city’s animal shelter. The agenda included an executive session for the city manager’s job review and a look into matters that could have an adverse effect on city finances.

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