Monday, September 22, 2014
   
Text Size

Metered water in Gothenburg?

City wants community feedback.

The city is taking a wait-and-see approach to gauge if residents want metered water.

At their Jan. 18 meeting, Gothenburg City Council members held off on deciding whether or not to apply for state funds to help with the installation of meters.

Water metering is the process of measuring water use through water meters. Users are then billed for usage.

Through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, the city could be eligible for principal forgiveness equal to 20% of the estimated project costs.

The remaining 80% could be funded through a DWRLF low-interest loan.

City administrator Bruce Clymer estimated meter installation to cost more than $4 million, at about $1,200 per household, not including maintenance and meter reading charges.

Clymer said he’s heard from several homeowners about the unfairness of paying the same amount for water each month even though a neighbor may use more water.

Although property owners watering large lawns would pay more than an apartment dweller, he said rates would increase for both with installation, meter reading and maintenance costs.

The council’s newest board member, Gary Fritch, said he’s lived in four different communities—two which metered water and two that didn’t.

Residents in communities with metered water started monitoring usage which was good, Fritch said, but infrastructure expenses raised rates.

In Gothenburg, Clymer said there’s now little cost to get water out of the ground. That could change with metered water, he said.

If a community is some distance from its well field, which isn’t the case locally, he said metered water makes sense.

With enough community interest locally, Mayor Joyce Hudson said the council could have a public hearing—which is required for the grant—to gain feedback and decide whether to apply for state funds.

Clymer said he would wait for a couple of weeks to let state water officials know of the council’s decision.

So property owners remain eligible for federal floodplain insurance, Gothenburg City Council members took the first step toward adoption of floodplain management regulations.

They introduced an ordinance that adopts rules for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program which is administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

City administrator Bruce Clymer explained that anyone wanting to build in the floodplain can’t get a federally-backed loan without participating in the insurance program.

Travis Mason of Miller & Associates Consulting Engineers of Kearney said it’s not good to not be in the program, noting that he’s never heard of a community in a floodplain not in the program.

During open forum, the council learned that local resident Ronnie Wilson can keep

Find the complete story in our print edition. Receive the entire issue of the Gothenburg Times on-line in PDF format each Wednesday for only $25 per year. Call 308-537-3636 to subscribe.

Weather Forecast

Click for Gothenburg, Nebraska Forecast

e-Subscription Login