by Sue Deyoe ~ July 25th, 2011
The Mat Su Borough Assembly voted against a memorandum on Talkeetna water utility metering Tuesday evening.
Assemblyman Vern Halter put a stop to the proposed engineering contract to study how and where to install meters for both residents and commercial properties.
Jeff Walden, project manager, on Monday said that roughly 300-thousand dollars was leftover from the arsenic treatment system grant. That money, he says, was to be used to install both commercial and residential meters for the Talkeetna sewer and water system. Walden says the USDA grant requires installation of meters as an integrity check on the system. Without meters is there is no way of knowing whether there is a leak in the system.
Halter is concerned with what is occurring with the utility and said paying an engineering firm to study the meters was not a good use of money when there are companies that can be hired that will just install the meters as needed.
Talkeetna resident Kathy Stoltz was at the Borough Assembly meeting and was shocked to hear the proposed meter study. She clearly remembers a Water and Sewer Board meeting where operations manager Chuck Braun said there was 225-thousand dollars left in the grant and that the money ‘ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT’ be used to install meters — it was too far out of scope of the grant.
The issue is most likely only delayed. Walden wasn’t available for comment AFTER the Assembly decision but has said it is part of the grant agreement with USDA to install meters for all customers. It is unknown at this point who will pay and how those meters will be installed.