New water meters on tap for Dixon residents

September 1, 2018

DIXON – A $3 million project to replace all of the city’s water meters is on tap to start later this month.

Residents should be receiving an initial mailer from the city saying new water meters are coming soon, and more information will be out in the mail in the coming weeks.

Meters will be replaced in a certain section of the city at a time, and the list of scheduled areas should be finalized Tuesday, City Manager Danny Langloss said Friday. The hope is to replace all meters in 9 months to a year.

The city contracted with Core & Main in November for the project, and the meters will be installed by Morris-based United Meters Inc.

United Meters will contact residents inside the first project area to set up appointments, and mailed information will have the City of Dixon letterhead.

Installers will likely start going out to residences in mid- to late-September, but it will depend on community members setting up appointments for the work, Langloss said.

“The smoothness of the process is so heavily dependent on people calling right away to schedule the appointments,” he said.

They will wear City of Dixon badges, and their photos and names are posted on the city website. Background checks were done on all installers, and they are not permitted to enter a home unless someone 18 or older is present.

Residents should call City Hall if they have any questions about an installer.

The project has been on the city’s radar for years, as more than 70 percent of existing meters are past their life expectancy. The rest operate with obsolete software – it’s also estimated that the city loses at least $300,000 in water revenue annually because of inaccurate reads.

The upgraded Sensus iPerl meters allow for more accurate reads and an advanced metering infrastructure with measurements transmitted wirelessly, rather than manual reads.

The project also helps the city transition to a long-awaited change from quarterly to monthly billing.

“The most common complaint we get is people wanting monthly billing, and the big benefit of this is that we can address that complaint,” Langloss said.

People in the first group of replaced meters could start monthly billing as early as February. Residents will also be encouraged to pay their bills online.

There may be an uptick in some bills because of the more accurate reads, and it will be much easier to detect leaks or other problems early on.

The city is lending itself $3 million from reserves to pay for the project, and it will be repaid through water and sewer revenue across 10 years at 1 percent interest.