City to update water meters, purchase backhoe

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This year, officials with the city of Concordia have been discussing the possibilities of upgrading the system of water meters, even meeting with the city of Emma about a new program from Utility Service.

In a regular Concordia Board of Aldermen meeting Monday, April 20, the board agreed to move forward with the proposal.

Tom Stechman, with Utility Service, presented the board with a master service agreement.

"We went back and verified a lot of work detailing how many meters, what size meters, and we learned a little bit more, but it didn't really change the numbers (estimated," Stechman said. "What we're talking about is an AMI meter program. It's all automatic. Somebody in the office basically presses a button. All the meters are read at one time."

The program includes replacing all meters, the construction, and IT work to integrate the system into the building system. Utility Service is also responsible for any water meter that malfunctions.

Costs for the program cover seven years.

"I like the program. I think this is great," Alderman Michael Brown said. "I think this is exactly what we need to do. I just want to make sure we've got everything crossed and dotted."

The program is what Stechman referred to as "cash positive." Saying the revenue generated from more accurate reading absorbs the cost. Emma, which is a water customer of Concordia, can choose to participate in the future.

"If you really look at it, our company is investing money in the city of Concordia. ... We're honored to do that," Stechman said.

Klussman suggested the city could use this as a tool to generate revenue without having to raise water prices.

Aldermen unanimously approved the meter upgrade.

During the meeting, aldermen also learned more about the possibility of acquiring a new backhoe. Klussman reminded the board that when they previously spoke about the budget, he emphasized the need to set money aside specifically for a potential purchase.

"A backhoe is our most precious piece of equipment ... it's what we use on a daily basis on almost every job we do," Klussman said.

The current John Deere backhoe used is approximately 10 years old.

The goal was to allot $18,000 a year out of the monies from the street department, which would go toward the city's equipment purchase fund. Brian Bremer, of Murphy Tractor and Equipment, was present at the meeting to discuss the option of doing a lease/purchase agreement.

Bremer said it would be wise to consider updated equipment based on governmental discounts in addition to technology upgrades that have been made in the past decade. The current machine is also out of warranty.

Bremer said they looked at the machine and came up with some budget scenarios for city officials to study. Acquiring a new 310 SL John Deere backhoe on a lease/purchase agreement this year is estimated to have a similar annual cost of savings goal.

"One of the things that would even help your payment even more is if we did a five-year note, but with six payments," Bremer explained, saying the city would have a payment at the time of delivery plus an annual payment for five years. "It makes that payment a little bit less."

Bremer said he would be willing to help write a spec should the board choose to open it for bidding.

Should the city purchase another machine, it would allow one to be used within the water department. Klussman said this would also allow a city employee to gain more experience on it.

"It would relieve having to pull maintenance off of some jobs whenever we have water leaks," Klussman said. "It just gives us more flexibility. The trade-in we would get on it -- in my opinion and Doug's opinion -- is not justifiable to what that backhoe is worth."

Mayor Donald Holtcamp stated there might be challenges in maintaining the new machine because of the changes in technology. Bremer agreed in one way, maintenance is not as easy as it used to be.

"It usually will take a tech and a computer, because it's literally got a computer on the machine running most of the functions now. Now that also gives you better user-friendly options on it, and it also gives you some advantages because of the electronics and the cellular coverage that comes with the machine."

Brown asked if financing options would be through John Deere. It would be; however, the city could continue to service the machine itself.

The digging depth is 18 -feet deep with the extend hoe. Klussman asked the board if they see value in moving forward with a lease/purchase, or if they preferred to build the fund over time. Aldermen agreed to have Murphy Tractor Write up specs to include a five-year comprehensive warranty.

"... I'll write it up based on the amount of usage you've had on this machine," Bremer said.

City beat:

--Aldermen approved a resolution setting the health insurance plans for full-time employees.

--Aldermen tabled a discussion regarding a request to waive a 300-foot distance requirement by Sam Hafley. Hafley is planning to locate a Craft Beer Brewery at 513 S. Main St., however it is less than 300-feet from a school or church. The brewery would not necessarily act as an operational bar; however patrons would be able to taste test what the owner manufactures.

--Aldermen approved an ordinance authorizing an agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation to initiate Department's Community Assistance Program for Edwin A. Pape Lake. The agreement would last through the year 2030.

--Authorized the city to purchase of land from Robert A. Iserman and Norma N. Iserman Revocable Living Trust. The purchase would include a lot and a half of land for $15,000. It was scheduled to close Tuesday, April 21.

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