Residents of Galt who have not already done so will soon be required to pay for water meters to measure exactly how much water they are using.
Full cost recovery for installation would come to between $240 and $700 per customer, but the Galt City Council voted Tuesday to charge customers who have not pre-paid for their meters a flat fee of $300. Payment plans will be available.
This affects about 3,200 customers, who generally live in residences built prior to 1990, mobile home parks and apartment buildings.
Other residents have already paid for their meters with the cost of their homes, and some have been paying for their meters since 2004, but Tuesday’s action will create a uniform system.
The decision is related to a state mandate that requires all California residents pay for water based on usage by 2026.
Councilman Curt Campion was disappointed there were no speakers on the item. It was heard at close to 10 p.m., nearly three hours into the meeting.
“This is probably one of the biggest items that’s going to affect everyone — and it’s going to hurt them in the pocketbooks,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, council members gave direction for staff to negotiate with a specific company to oversee the process, after a thorough vetting process that not only included several face-to-face meetings, but also a review by a public works director in a nearby unidentified city who assigned a score to each company’s proposal.
Global Water Resources was ultimately chosen to handle the metering infrastructure system project, which includes meter installation. The council is scheduled to vote on the final contract on Aug. 20.
Meter installation could be complete this time next year with a new usage rate structure in place by fall 2014.
The entire project will cost about $4.6 million, although a portion of that will be offset by customers paying for their meters, according to former interim Public Works Director Richard Prima, who is now working as a consultant for the city.
Council members also unanimously approved developing an incentive program for duplex owners who elect to modify their on-site plumbing, so that residents can be billed according to their exact usage.
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