Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cooper City Commissioner challenges multi-million dollar ‘hi-tech’ water meters as excessive and unnecessary spending

For Immediate Release Contact: Commissioner John Sims
August 12, 2009 Cell: 954-445-6997

Cooper City Commissioner challenges multi-million dollar ‘hi-tech’ water meters as excessive and unnecessary spending

Commissioner John Sims displaying an example of
Cooper City’s Multi-million dollar water meters

Cooper City, FL – Cooper City District 1 Commissioner John Sims released a statement today saying that “Cooper City residents cannot afford to spend an assumed $4.7 million dollars on new electronic residential water meters that will take more than 15 years to recover the costs.”

“Our residents are hurting financially, and many have lost their jobs or have seen their incomes drop substantially. For the Cooper City Mayor and Commission to even consider spending four-plus million dollars at this time on unnecessary, hi-tech water meters is a travesty and an insult to our employees, residents and business owners. We should be looking to cut spending, to cut unnecessary programs and to give back excessive, surplus revenues to our stakeholders in the form of tax cuts. We should not be increasing discretionary expenditures in a time of economic concern. I would question such a large expenditure at this point in time when it is not a priority, who would benefit from the project, and who would lose their jobs. It makes no sense at all to fully implement this project in our fiscal year 2010 budget”, Commissioner Sims said.

The City Manager, Mr. Bruce Loucks, is recommending converting all of the city’s water meters to a high tech meter that use a wireless network, possibly eliminating the meter reader jobs. If in fact the jobs are truly eliminated, and not simply transferred to another area, it would take decades to recover those salaries over the costs of the new system.

Although no cost to benefit analysis, efficiency and performance or collection rate data justification has been provided by city staff to date, Commissioner Sims said the initial loan amount for the project is estimated to be approximately $3.2 million.

Allowing for an average annual interest percentage rate of 5.5%, the total equates to about $4.7 million for the hardware, not including future maintenance, replacement and non-warranty expenditures. The city may or may not be able to receive a low interest bank loan to fund this massive project. If not, the total interest rate may indeed be much higher, pushing the cost upwards and possibly above $5 million.

Commissioner Sims has urged all Cooper City residents and business owners to contact their elected officials and the City Manager, asking them to reduce or eliminate any and all unnecessary or discretionary spending at this time. He further stated “Please call your Mayor and Commissioners and tell them ‘no’. We need less spending, not more. I ask you to attend the upcoming Commission budget meetings and voice your concerns about the rising and excessive costs of managing your local government” Sims said.

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If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact Commissioner John Sims.

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