01/15/07 — Work on automatic meters is beginning

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Work on automatic meters is beginning

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 15, 2007 1:55 PM

Goldsboro utility customers will wake up to an upgrade this week as officials at City Hall have contracted with Datamatic Ltd. to install automatic reading devices on water meters throughout the city.

Assistant finance director Kaye Scott said the change will make figuring out a resident's water usage a less intrusive process.

Once the device is installed, a vehicle equipped with a computer and radio receiver will be able to read each meter from the street, she said. That means an end to the need for meter readers to access residents' houses and yards every month.

The new system cost $1.6 million, a total approved by City Council members last year. Mayor Al King stated recently that the city was willing to spend "whatever it takes" to upgrade technology for its departments.

But Mrs. Scott said she believes the new equipment will ultimately pay for itself.

"We won't need as many people," she said. "You won't have to manually go out and work with the meter."

The city recently eliminated two positions that would have been filled by meter readers, she added. Without those salaries to pay, the city can begin to pay itself back for the purchase.

Installation was expected to begin today. All city water customers should be advised that staff from Datamatic Ltd. will need to access their meters for a few minutes when they arrive. But no one needs to stay home from work and wait for them to arrive -- the addition can be made without assistance from the property owner.