Gallatin Official Denies Digital Water Meters Causing Rate Hike

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The superintendent of Gallatin’s Public Utilities Department said there is no truth to information allegedly circulating around town about digital water meters making water bills skyrocket.

“That’s not true. That must be something people are saying on Facebook,” Superintendent David Gregory told The Tennessee Star Wednesday.

City officials are currently installing new digital water meters that eliminate the need for meter readers. Overall, the project costs taxpayers $6 million, Gregory said.

“But people can get online when we get through with this and see what’s going through their meter. We’re about 85 percent completed with the project,” Gregory said.

“Once we’re completed with the project people can get online and see what their usages are and to see the history of it.”

On Tuesday, The Star received a complaint from an unnamed source about higher water bills.

“The water department is changing meters to new, wireless reading meters,” the source said in an email.

“Many people are complaining that since the changeover, their water bills are double, triple, and higher than their usual water bill.”

One family, the source said, got a $900 water bill for a month.

The source did not have any information to substantiate what they said, nor did the source did not return The Star’s repeated requests for comment Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gregory said more people right now are watering for irrigation this time of year. Water department revenues, however, have remained steady. He also said his department serves about 15,000 households.

“Revenues are about the same now as they have been for the past few months. For water and sewer that’s about $1 million a month,” Gregory said.

Meter readers who no longer have to go house-to-house will still have jobs and help with other crews, Gregory said.

The $6 million for the project came from department reserve money, said Gregory, who has had his position for 39 years.

“If anybody has a problem (with the rates) then all they have to do is call us,” Gregory said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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