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Water budget approved without meter funds
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The 2012 water and sewer budget moved forward without money for additional radio-read water meters - a budget item that Rockdale Water Resources supported and the Water and Sewer Authority opposed - on Tuesday, temporarily resolving a months-long impasse between the two bodies.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the first read of RWR’s 2012 proposed $25.2 million operating budget and $9.7 million capitol budget on Tuesday without $270,000 originally slated for buying additional radio-read water meter technology. That amount, along with about $390,000 budgeted last year would have gone towards a pilot project in District 5, which is south of Interstate 20 and east of Ga. Highway 138, and District 6, around the Quigg Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The pilot project will continue to go forward in District 6, said Water and Sewer Authority Chair Elaine Nash. The district is ideal for a pilot project due to it's varied topography and situations in which to test out the technology, she said during Tuesday's BOC meeting. The radio-read meters would allow RWR to remotely monitor and receive information on water usage instead of having to send an employee out to either manually read the meter or to download the meter information with current touch-read technology.

RWR already has in storage about 2,000 of the radio-read meters previously purchased but not yet installed.

RWR Director Dwight Wicks had requested another delay on adopting the budget, which had been delayed for months while the radio meter issue was discussed, so that Authority members could fully realize the cost implications of taking out the money for radio read meters, he said.

Previously, Authority Chair Elaine Nash said the Authority was more concerned with replacing old pipes in the ground and reducing the amount of unaccounted-for water than buying new water meters.

"The water system has about 28 to 30 percent of its water unaccounted for, said Nash. “For every 30 days we produce, we lose 10 days worth of water.”

 “Our main concern is replacing leaky pipes in the ground,” she said.