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Water meter woes have just started

Sidebar by Martha Quillen

Salida politics – April 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Last summer, Salida started putting in water meters.

But now, with half of the city’s meters already in, there still seem to be a lot of questions and concerns regarding Salida’s metering project, including:

First, since the water meters were designed for median strips, there was some question about whether they should be driven over. Yet, because a lot of Salida’s streets don’t have curbs and sidewalks, many meters have already been installed where people ordinarily park.

Second, because each home owner was supposed to be charged for the actual work done rather than a standard sum, meter installation was notated and video-taped, and that process has led to a few grievances beyond the ordinary billing complaints.

Third, a policy to replace all curb stops that were more than three years old irritated numerous reluctant customers who didn’t appreciate being charged several hundred dollars to replace parts that weren’t broken.

Fourth, although rare, some water heaters popped a valve and spilled their all — due to pressure changes caused by the new meters.

Fifth, some people were charged more than the $800 maximum price agreed upon for meter installation by the city.

Sixth, a lot of people didn’t like the idea of putting a meter with a -inch outlet onto a ¾-inch water line. (Although the -inch outlet is considered sufficient by the city, many citizens still don’t like the idea, and even the city deems such meters wholly inadequate for home owners with sprinkler systems. In February, it still remained unclear how many meters with -inch outlets had already been installed at homes with sprinkler systems.)

Seventh, some people are still upset that Salida chose $800 meters, when home owners in Buena Vista and Leadville got meters that cost less than $400.

Eighth, some of the new meters have frozen this winter.

Ninth, at least one woman was very upset about having her favorite shade tree removed to put in her meter. Thus, many citizens have requested a notification and protest policy regarding tree removal.

Tenth, eleventh, etc. covers a host of individual complaints. One citizen, for example, was mad because, after a problem with a first pit at his home, the city dug another pit a few feet away.

At this point, it should be remembered that these complaints reflect only installation problems. Current water bills in Salida are not yet based upon the new meters.