By WILL BRUMLIVE
ROBERTS — A letter was sent this week to all residences and businesses in the Village of Roberts providing details on the upcoming replacement of their water meters.
The letter, signed by Village Clerk Sarah Watterson, said the work will be performed by Dye Plumbing of Paris, Illinois, during the week of Monday, Aug. 22 through Friday, Aug. 26. Three teams of two plumbers will be working every day this week to complete the project in the shortest possible time.
“They intend to operate from 6am to 4pm throughout the week,” the letter said.
Installations will take place in different areas of the city on different days, including Main Street, Cemetery Road, Oak Street, Hickory Street and Sunset Drive on Monday, August 22; Green, Locust and Adda streets on Tuesday, August 23; 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 all properties that were to be rescheduled on Friday, August 26.
“The water company will not zig-zag around town as this slows down the progress of the project,” the letter said. “So we’re trying to do this street by street if at all possible. Please make every effort to be home on the designated street day or have a family member, friend, neighbor, etc. to meet the plumbers.
“The approximate time it takes a house to complete the installation is about 15 minutes. The installers ask that you be home when they are there and that the area of your home where the meter is located is not blocked by anything so that they can easily get to the area. If they have to move anything blocking the metering area, they will be billed and collected by Dye Plumbing $100 at the water customer’s own expense.”
The letter asks residents or businesses who “have a scheduling issue that can be resolved by using a different day that week” or “need a specific time to accommodate (their) work day” to call Waterson at 217-369-8184 “to resolve conflicts or other issues.”
“If you absolutely cannot work out a 15-minute window for your upgrade, you can schedule your appointment with Dye Plumbing, our contracted plumbers for this project, but this will be at your own expense, unfortunately,” the letter said.
Every home and business is required to have a new meter installed 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 at each installation, the letter said.
“We very much appreciate all of you being flexible and patient with your board and the installers during this time,” the letter said.
The Village Board voted in April to accept a $49,864 bid from Edinburg-based Midwest Meter to replace all 175 of the town’s water meters. Midwest Meter’s bid includes a five-year repayment option for a total funding amount of $56,286. The board agreed to the five-year repayment plan, with the first of the village’s annual payments to Midwest Meter due next April.
Funds to pay for the project will be generated through a water rate increase approved by the board in April. The $9 increase in the monthly base water rate — from $40 to $49 — took effect May 1.
Having fully functioning water meters should also bring in some additional revenue to help fund the project. The Illinois Rural Water Association has estimated that Roberts loses $17,877 a year due to inaccurate and non-working water meters, and the hope is that the city will start being able to collect what it’s actually owed for water use each month once the project is complete .