Washington water meter detects flow, saves money

By Steve Stein

Of the Journal Star

WASHINGTON — The city’s new automated remote read system for water meters began operating last week and already has paid a dividend.

Public Works Director Ed Andrews told City Council members Monday hourly readouts detected a small but continual water flow at a home under construction on Dorchester Court.

It turned out water to a hose hadn’t been turned off completely.

Instead of costing $84 had the leak gone on for an entire quarterly billing cycle, Andrews said, the leak cost the customer only $2.40.

The installation of about 5,800 new water meters and the read system is being funded by a $2.3 million, 10-year loan the city obtained last year from low bidder Morton Community Bank at a 2.46 percent interest rate.

One of the benefits of the system touted by city officials is the ability to detect water leaks quickly.

Interim police Chief Ed Papis attended his first regular council meeting Monday after being appointed last week at a special meeting. He said he said he couldn’t get into his office Sunday on his first official day on the job because he couldn’t find the key on a huge key ring.

“When I got to work (Monday), the right key was in the door,” he said with a laugh.

Papis said he’s met most of the people in the department and was on hand Monday for roll call for the first and second shifts.

“This is a solid department,” he said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to give you the best product possible.”

Papis is a former longtime member of the Peoria Police Department who was East Peoria police chief from 2002 until his retirement in 2012. He’s replacing former Washington Police Chief Don Volk, whose retirement was effective Saturday.

Also Monday, aldermen approved:

An agreement to pay the Washington Chamber of Commerce $25,400 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year for tourism and economic development services.

An agreement with District 308 to provide a school resource officer for Washington Community High School for the 2016-2017 school year. The school district will pay the city $73,295 toward the officer’s salary and benefits.

Granting a special-use permit to Morton-based New Life Christian Church so it can operate New Life Christian Church-North in the Washington Plaza.

Changing Lincoln Avenue to Lincoln Street. Lincoln was designated an avenue when the city was platted in 1837, but it has been called a street in city ordinances since at least 1936.

Re-appointing Brian Fischer, Louis Milot and Doug Weston to the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission for five-year terms.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Read his Stein Time blog on pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.