Also, a commissioner rallies for a new county ramp to be added to aid parking at beach park.
BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER
The Ormond Beach City Commission gave the go-ahead Tuesday to get bids on replacing water meters throughout the city with automatic meters.
A total of $520,000 has been budgeted for the project.
Meter replacement is recommended after ten years, and most of the city’s meters are well past that timetable, according to city documents. Over time, meters become inaccurate or can result inaccurate billings.
The city uses two types of meters, according to Kelly McGuire, finance director. There are “visual” meters and “touch” meters. With a touch meter, the reader touches the meter with a special wand that captures the reading and sends it to a handheld computer electronically.
McGuire said both types of meters will be replaced with automatic meters which are also known as radio-read meters. The reader can walk or drive by and capture the reading electronically.
“We discussed the option of having readings automatically sent to our computer at City Hall,” she said. “However, this option requires the purchase of transmitter towers and other equipment which would have added millions of dollars to the cost of this project.”
The first year of the program will focus on replacement of primarily visual-read meters in areas which provide the greatest safety concern for meter readers who must walk to each location in order to obtain the readings. Future programs will focus on meters based on age.
Next up: Beach management
Commissioner Troy Kent, in discussing parking at Andy Romano Beachfront Park, said it would make sense for the adjacent Millsap Approach to be opened by the county so that people could drive onto the beach if they couldn’t find a space in the park.
“The county of Volusia refuses to open the Millsap Approach,” he said. “Why? I heard someone say they would have to pay a toll booth operator.”
Kent suggested they move the toll booth operator from the Granada Approach, which is often closed because of beach conditions.
“I guess that would make too much sense,” he said.
He also criticized the fact that the county pays a tractor operator to grade sand away from all of the beach approaches, even the ones that are closed.
“When you give up control, you have issues like this,” he said.
The county took control of city beaches in the mid-1990s.