By Tim Linscott
City officials promised Justin Coats, owner of Grant Packing, an answer at the Nov. 26 council meeting in regard to his water bill and they made good on their word.
They also laid the groundwork for future water meters for businesses in Grant.
Two months ago Coats asked why his water bill was so high. His business was classified by the city as a high water usage business and when water rates were increased in August, Coats saw a significant jump in his bill.
Coats spoke with council members, pointing out that he feels his business uses under the estimated gallons per year in his classification and asked city leaders to re-classify his business. Council members agreed to hook up an existing meter at his business and monitor consumption for a set time period, re-evaluating his classification.
“When I compare my bill to similar businesses, it is four times theirs. My consumption I compare to other businesses reflects that,” Coats said.
It was later revealed that the meter did not work.
At the Nov. 26 meeting Coats offered to pay to have the water meter fixed. However, Gary Beckler, water superintendent for the City of Grant, explained the meter could not be repaired.
A new meter and pit, with a one inch line, has an estimated cost of $1,300, including installation.
Council members proposed the city pay a percent of the installation of the meter.
Council member Kirk York wondered how long to monitor the business as to include the busy season for Grant Packing, to ensure the highest water consumption period was factored into the gallons of usage per year.
Coats explained that water is used at his business for cleaning up at the end of the day.
“If I have 15 or five animals, the same amount of water is used to clean up,” Coats said.
City officials agreed to help pay for the installation of the meter, up to $500, with Beckler reading the meter monthly.
The meter that will be used will have a cost of roughly $250 with another estimated $250 for installation.
The meter will be read for one year with an evaluation after six months. If it is determined Coats was overcharged for water based on gallons of use per year, his bill will be adjusted retroactively going back to November of this year.
Council member Tim Pofahl explained that this project could be a test run for getting meters installed at businesses in Grant.