Farmington officials pan double water meter idea

Harvest Moon Celebration

 

Hoping Farmington city officials will allow separate water meters for lawn irrigation?

Sorry, you’re out of luck.

City Manager David Murphy explained during a Monday council meeting that water and sanitary sewer usage are both billed through the water meter. A second meter, installed at the resident’s expense, would measure only water usage.

The second meter issue came up, Murphy said, because officials wondered why residents are paying the same rates when they’re watering or washing their cars, when that water is not also going into the sanitary sewer system. The Treasurer’s office and Department of Public Works have received calls from residents who want the separate meter, which would cost a homeowner $760-$805, and a commercial property owner $1210-$1410. 

Residents could save almost $200 a year and commercial property owners, about $2,600, city Treasurer Chris Weber estimated. However, all residents would end up footing the bill, because the city is charged a fixed rate by the Great Lakes Water Authority.

“They’re measuring the actual flow,” he said. “That number is fixed, so it’s a question of how we’re going to recoup those costs.”

Over time, he said, the city could lose 25 to 50 percent of its sewer revenues, “which means we’ll have to raise rates between 5 and 12 percent.” That was a clear sticking point with officials.

“The math doesn’t work for us until Great Lakes (Water Authority) really changes the way you buy water,” council member Greg Cowley said.

Mayor Bill Galvin said residents who are interested in second meters should try to drum up support on their own.

“If there’s a lot more people interested, it may gain more traction,” he said.