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Meter Matters

Sep 18, 2019

To the Editor:

In their great wisdom, Long Beach Township officials have decided to have township homeowners install water meters, at their own expense. It would seem to be easier just to bill people a set amount as has been done previously, but I am sure there are good reasons to change the system. One reason I can think of immediately is that it is a more equitable system, with each resident paying for exactly what they use.

After many discussions with my plumber, I decided I wanted the water meter issue behind me before I went on a cruise and eventually to Florida. We decided that it would be installed in my garage right next to where the main water line comes into my house. I had no knowledge of digging a meter pit, which he explained was usually placed near the curb, where the water line cut-off valve was located.

Armed with the information he had supplied me about needing a three-quarter-inch meter (the bigger the meter, the higher the price), I took myself down to the Water Department office, where a lovely young lady named Ashley explained that an article appearing in The SandPaper was about to let residents know that time was running out.

Although the meters will not be used to bill for water until 2022, the fact that there are 9,000 meters in LBT means that there has to be a bit of lead time because the water department has to inspect each and every one of them. Ashley nicely explained that when the meter was installed I should call for an appointment to have it inspected. It was and I did. 

Two very nice gentlemen showed up that very afternoon and said the meter was correctly installed. They had an electronic gadget that assured them that the transmitter was working properly, so the meter could be remotely read from their office. Let me just say again, the Water Department personnel from LBT were outstanding.

I also found out that anyone who doesn’t have their meter in fairly soon will face having their water shut off.  So, those of you who have gone home for the summer should talk to your plumber and have the meter taken care of when they winterize your house.

I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t have something to say about the whole process. The actual meter and sending unit cost $248, plus a surcharge because I paid by credit card. On top of this was the plumber’s bill to install the meter. I had some extra hardware installed at the same time, so the cost of extra shut-offs and drains was in addition to the meter price.

The whole thing ended up costing me over $500, admittedly not all of it being meter-related, but most of it was. Could not the township have floated a bond issue so that we could pay it off in our taxes? Could not our water bills have been modified with a $25 extra monthly fee to pay off the meter over time?

There may be good reasons why it was not handled this way. Our mayor and commissioners certainly try to contain expenses. Perhaps this issue should have been publicized a little more so that our residents were aware of what was being decided. Then again, I could have missed the discussion, but I don’t think so.   

Next time something like this comes up, I and others would like a little more information. Thanks.

Larry Chalk

Haven Beach

 

 

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