By WILL BRUMLEVE
ROBERTS — A letter went out this week to all residences and businesses in the village of Roberts, providing details of the upcoming replacement of their water meters.
The letter, signed by Village Clerk Sara Waterson, said the work will be done by Dye Plumbing of Paris, Ill., during the week of Monday, Aug. 22, through Friday, Aug. 26. Three crews of two plumbers each will be working every day that week to finish the project in as short a time as possible.
“They intend to work from 6 am to 4 pm that whole week,” the letter said.
Installations will be done in different areas of town on different days, including on Main Street, Cemetery Road, Oak Street, Hickory Street and Sunset Drive on Monday, Aug. 22; Green, Locust and Adda streets on Tuesday, Aug. 23; Illinois 54/115 and South, Weber, Hall, Dilks, Walnut and East Maple streets on Wednesday, Aug. 24; Weldon, Melvin and West Maple streets on Thursday, Aug. 25; and any properties that needed to reschedule on Friday, Aug. 26.
“The plumbing company will not ‘zig-zag’ around town as this slows the progress of the project,” the letter said. “Therefore, we are trying to do this street-by-street if at all possible. Please make every effort to be home on your assigned street day or have a family member, friend, neighbor, etc., to accommodate the plumbers.
“The estimated time it takes per house to complete the installation is around 15 minutes. The installers ask that you be at home when they are there and that the area inside your home where the meter is located is not blocked by anything so they can get to the area easily. If they have to move anything blocking the meter area, there will be $100 charged by and collected by Dye Plumbing at the water customer’s own expense.”
The letter asked that residents or businesses that “have a scheduling issue that can be solved by using a different day this same week” or “need a specific time to accommodate (their) work day” call Waterson at 217-369-8184 “to resolve the conflicts or other concerns.”
“If you absolutely cannot work out a 15-minute window for your upgrade, you can schedule your own appointment with Dye Plumbing, our contracted plumbers for this project, but it will be at your own expense, unfortunately,” the letter said.
Each home and business is required to have a new meter installed to ensure usage and billing accuracy, the letter said, adding that “failure to comply could result in an interruption of your service.”
A village board member or village staff member will be on site at each installation, the letter said.
“We very much appreciate you all 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 for the replacement of all 175 water meters in town. Midwest Meter’s bid included a five-year payoff option for a total financed amount of $56,286. The board agreed to the five-year payoff plan, with the first of the village’s annual installments to Midwest Meter due next April.
Funds to pay off 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 — went into 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 estimated that Roberts has been losing $17,877 annually due to inaccurate and inoperable water meters, and the hope is that the town will begin to be able to collect what is actually owed for water usage each month once the project is completed.