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Accurate Water Meters a Must

Bellaire’s water treatment plant produces about 30 million gallons of water a month, on average — but the village gets paid for only about one-third of the total. That is a recipe for a financial meltdown.

During their meeting last week, Bellaire Village Council members discussed the challenge with plant operator Sue Bell.

No doubt part of the situation can be traced to leaky waterlines. But Bell blamed non-functioning water meters for much of the problem.

Billing department data indicates 251 water customers have meters that show no use, even when water is being pumped through them. Hundreds more may not be providing accurate readings.

Without meters proving how much water is used, municipal officials have no choice but to charge customers the minimum rate, Bell explained. Revenue that should be available for water department operations and repairs is not being collected.

“We really need to tackle this,” Bell told council members, adding, “It will pay for itself in no time. You’ll start seeing higher revenues.”

Council should take steps to repair or replace malfunctioning water meters. Some of the meters may need no more than minor repairs.

Bell should propose a program of repairs/replacements, with time lines and costs, and council should adopt some sort of ongoing system to ensure that if water is supplied, the village is paid for it.

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