SYRACUSE — Syracuse Town Council was asked to consider a flow of changes during its regular meeting Tuesday evening, Feb. 16.
Public Works Director Rob Merchant shared plans to tighten up the town’s leak adjustment policy to shave down on lost revenue. The tighter policy would place more burden on residents to maintain their pipes and provide more proof of leaks: including a receipt from a plumber or other proof — like a hardware bill — they did have a leak and repaired it.
The plan would also further limit the number of times a resident could receive an adjustment from once every six months to once every two years. Merchant stated the policy is comparable to other utilities’ policies, including some national ones, he has worked for, and it will encourage more permanent plumbing fixes rather than bandages.
Council member Paul Stoelting noted several residents in the area are still on fixed incomes. “Maybe I’m too trusting, but I don’t feel people put bandages on plumbing — I know I don’t.” He added, “It’s important to look at the town and town citizens not as number crunches.”
Still, with $11,000 lost revenue from adjustments last year, council President Larry Siegel said it’d be good to have a policy in place.
Council members opted to take time and look at the policy Merchant provided and tweak it.
The policy for water shutoffs was also brought up with Siegel wanting to tighten up the time between notification and shutoff. Clerk-Treasurer Paula Kehr-Wicker stated she and town attorney Vern Landis would look into state laws on the matter.
Merchant also reported he is beginning water loss reports, which are required by the state. He noted numbers should be at 10 percent, but last month they ran at 19 percent and the month before 37 percent.
He added part of the loss report requires the subtraction of water use that wasn’t billed; however, he first needs numbers from the fire department, especially since fire hydrants are not metered. Currently, Merchant said he has no idea if they drain a fire hydrant or fill up a truck.
Since the water is not metered, it is also unbilled, leading to questions as to whether the fire territory should receive some sort of bill, even if at a discounted rate.
“The people who are paying for water are subsidizing the township,” Siegel said. “(The township) should be sharing the expense.”
“My point is I need that information,” Merchant said, stating the data will be necessary if the state has questions about the water loss report.
Other public works news included:
- There have been 12 leak repairs on Boston Street. Merchant noted they will know more once the leak report is done.
- A plumbing change is occurring at the treatment plant that will allow flow tests and the calibrations of the meters. The changes will costing a total of $1,700 and are proactive maintenance.
- Wawasee Community Schools submitted a letter committing to $40,000 in order to tie in the new Syracuse Elementary School to the wastewater system on Kern Road. Their commitment brings the town’s cost to $111,215. It was moved for the town not to exceed $111,215 and the project should be completed within 129 days.
- A change order for the wastewater treatment plant was not presented as more information is needed.