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September 16, 2009

City to outsource meter reading

No layoffs expected, should cut costs

In an effort to cut costs, the City of Cullman plans to contract with B&R; Meter Service to handle water meter reading for the city.

The city council has approved plans for a five-year contract for the service, which is expected to save the city between $35,000 - $40,000.

“We’ve analyzed everything and the costs savings are there,” Mayor Max Townson said. “[B&R;] will be reading the water limits within the city limits.”

Townson said no employees will be laid off by the transition, but current meter readers will instead be transferred to fill voids in other departments within the city.

“Everything we’re doing is because we’re trying to save jobs,” he said. “We don’t want anyone to lose their job.”

The decision is included in the city’s upcoming 2009-2010 budget — set for approval in October — and is part of a round of cuts that will hopefully bring city spending in line with reduced revenue brought on by the sluggish economy.

Earlier this month, the city made the decision to consolidate the public works department and Townson has stated in a previous interview that budget cuts are likely for virtually every city department.

The decision will also have a minor impact on a new city vehicle, which was purchased earlier this year. The water department bought a $13,000 electric vehicle for city employees to read water lines. Townson said he still believes the purchase was a wise move and said the vehicle will now be used by other departments, in addition to the water department.

“We’re still going to utilize that vehicle,” he said. “Our guys will use that to go out and check or repair water lines and we’ll also use it for special activities, like at the Festhalle (Market Platz).”

The council also:

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