By WILL BRUMLEVE
ROBERTS — A letter was sent out this week to all Roberts Village residences and businesses detailing the upcoming replacement of their water meters.
The letter, signed by Village Clerk Sarah Watterson, says the work will be performed by Dye Plumbing of Paris the week of Monday, Aug. 22 through Friday, Aug. 26. work every day that week to complete the project in the shortest possible time.
“They intend to work that whole week from 6 am to 4 pm,” the letter says.
Installations will take place in various areas of the city on various days, including Main Street, Cemetery Road, Oak Street, Hickory Street and Sunset Drive on Monday, August 22; Tuesday, August 23 Green, Locust and Adda Streets; Illinois 54/115 and South, Weber, Hall, Dilks, Walnut and East Maple streets on Wednesday, August 24; Weldon, Melvin and West Maple streets on Thursday, August 25; and any property that was due to be rearranged on Friday 26 August.
“The water company will not zig-zag across the city as this slows down the progress of the project,” the letter said. “Therefore, if possible, we try to do it street by street. Please make every effort to be home on your assigned street day or have a family member, friend, neighbor, etc. to accommodate the plumbers.
“The approximate time for one house to complete the installation is about 15 minutes. Installers ask that you be home when they are there and that the area inside your home where the meter is located is not blocked by anything so they can easily get to the area. If they have to move anything blocking the meter area, $100 will be charged and collected by Dye Plumbing at the water customer’s own expense.”
The letter requested that residents or businesses who “have a scheduling issue that can be resolved using another day this same week” or “need some time to accommodate their work day” to call Watterson at 217-369-8184 phone number resolve conflicts or other concerns.’
“If you absolutely cannot work out a 15-minute window for your upgrade, you can schedule your own appointment with Dye Plumbing, our contract plumbers for this project, but this will be at your own expense, unfortunately,” the letter said.
Every home and business is required to install a new meter to ensure accuracy of usage and billing, the letter said, adding that “failure to comply may result in your service being interrupted.”
A village board member or village staff member will be on site during each deployment, the letter said.
“We greatly appreciate all of you being flexible and patient with your board and installers during this time,” the letter said.
The Village Board in April voted down a $49,864 bid from Edinburg-based Midwest Meter to replace all 175 of the town’s water meters. Midwest Meter’s bid included a five-year payment option for a total funding amount of $56,286. The board agreed to a five-year payment plan, with the first of the village’s annual payments to Midwest Meter due in April of next year.
Funds to pay for the project will be generated through a water rate increase approved by the council in April. A $9 increase in the basic monthly water rate from $40 to $49 went into effect on May 1.
Having fully functional water meters should also generate some additional revenue to help finance the project. The Illinois Rural Water Association estimates that Roberts loses $17,877 a year due to inaccurate and malfunctioning water meters, and it is hoped that the city will begin collecting the actual amount owed each month for water use once the program is completed.