Oak Grove meter reading to change along with water billing

Oak Grove City Council members voted April 8 to switch billing providers for the city’s municipal water. On April 29, they approved the purchase of a new meter reader to coincide with that contract.

Through this past winter, the city had worked with Connexus Energy for reading meters at the Ponds development, which opened in the early 2000s, and also later for the West Lake George system, starting in 2006. Connexus handled all of the billing for water usage, as well.

However, this spring’s new contract for billing with OPUS 21 required the city to shop for its own remote reader. The city had to seek quotes for an Itron meter reader, to sync with the Itron radio equipment on all of its meters.

The council approved a price from Dakota Supply Group, which submitted the only complete quote, at $8,999 to include set-up training, implementation and one year of free technical support in addition to the handheld reader and its software. The city’s contract ensures annual support fees of just $435 in subsequent years.

Funding for the initial purchase will come from the Ponds and West Lake George water enterprise accounts, with the Ponds fund covering a large majority as there are far more present and potential connections there, a maximum 225 compared with 20 at West Lake George.

IDs planned for city officials

Mayor Mark Korin told his fellow council members and staff that as they attend city functions where other residents will be present, he wants all officials to be identifiable.

Korin, a business owner, said that he wanted to volunteer the use of his company’s laser engraver to create permanent name tags. Based on what he has seen at past city events, he said, “It’s amazing how many people voted for you who don’t even know who you are.”

According to Korin, the council in 2012 had agreed to consider an expense of city funds for the purchase of photo ID badges.

There had been a change in one seat after the fall election and Korin asked the newcomer Sean Sullivan as well as the returning colleagues April 29 if they would support seeking bids this summer for badges, at a cost of up to $50.

Councilmember Mike Wylie said he was fine with finding options, but that he would be unlikely to support a purchase if the price got as high as $50.