Delaware City Council Discusses Meters, Development and State Legislation In Heated Chambers

Delaware City Council Chambers Gets Hot!

This week’s City Council meeting was marked by a contentious, thirty minute discussion between Second Ward Councilwoman Lisa Keller and Public Utilities Director Brad Stanton and Dan Whited, Director of Delaware’s Public Service Group, over automated meter readers the city may purchase.

Brad Stanton, left, and Dan Whited answer Councilwoman Lisa Keller's questions.

Brad Stanton, left, and Dan Whited answer Councilwoman Lisa Keller’s questions.

City officials had vetted meter readers from Datamatic for a year, and the purchase of additional automated meter readers from a currently undetermined company would cost the city $1.5 million.

Keller found that Datamatic is now bankrupt, due in part to numerous lawsuits over hardware malfunctions and failed readers, and she questioned why this was never brought up by the vetting committee. According to the Public Utilities Director in Highland Village, Texas, at least 72 cities had sued Datamatic; Highland Village spent almost $2 million on their original meter readers and the cost to have another company fix them.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller raises questions over the reliability of automated meter readers for water bills.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller raises questions over the reliability of automated meter readers for water bills.

Brad Stanton said that he and his staff are still very confident in the technology as a whole, and that there are other companies and many other cities whose Datamatic systems did work. Keller pointed out problems with another manufacturer and remained dissatisfied.

With the air conditioning out during the nearly two hour meeting, city council worked to speed through many of the other matters at hand.

Representative Andrew Brenner speaks to the Council.

Representative Andrew Brenner speaks to the Council.

They heard a legislative update from state District 67 Representative Andrew Brenner, who described efforts he’s supporting in the state legislature, though he doesn’t expect a lot of activity before the midterms.

Specific issues he mentioned including setting a minimum amount that would have to be spent on individual schools; allowing high school students to have dual enrollment in colleges, and creating a hotel tax that could provide much needed funding for the Delaware County Fair.

They also approved development plans for Terra Alta Section 1, Part 2, east of Pollock Road, west of Berlin Station Road and north of Braumiller Road. A resolution to repeal a currently unenforced ordinance banning firearms in public parks was held over to a third reading.

Depending on the weather and status of the council chamber’s air conditioning, the next meeting may be held at an offsite location.