Way back in 2004, the Village of Riverside began its campaign to change out all of the residential and commercial water meters in the village. And, believe it or not, the project’s still not complete.

According to Village Manager Peter Scalera, there are still 10 holdouts in the village, and village trustees are about to make reading those meters a very expensive proposition.

On May 2, trustees will pass an ordinance requiring residential water customers with the old-style meters to pay the village $300 to read the meter every two months. And owners of multifamily buildings and commercial property will have to pay $600 every two months to have those meters read manually.

Initially, the village charged $50 per billing period to read the old meters and then raised the fee to $100 in 2007. Scalera proposed raising the fee to $150 for single-family residential customers and $300 for commercial customers, but Trustee John Scully argued that the village simply ought to go for broke and make the fee “onerous.”

“I agree,” said Trustee Mark Shevitz. “If we want to get people to change over, we’ve got to make it worthwhile.”

The new water meters, which will cost residents about $250 to install, don’t need to be manually read. The information can be transmitted via radio waves, allowing the village to read whole sections of town in a matter of minutes.

Asked why the final 10 holdouts were hanging onto the old meters, Scalera said the reasons were varied.

“Some of the meters have been there so long, either walls have been built around them or they are encased in concrete,” Scalera said. “Or some may have so much stuff around them, the owners don’t want to move things.”

– Bob Uphues