Hauling water from the city's water dock is about to become simpler with the city updating to an Internet-based interface system.
City Council members approved the new interface at their Jan. 9 meeting.
The existing water dock interface is more than 10 years old. The manufacturer stopped supporting the units in 2012 and parts are not available anymore for repairs.
The new Internet-based system will allow customers to add money to their accounts online using credit or debit cards. Then customers will input a four-digit account number and pin on the new interfaces at the water dock to get water.
Currently, the city issues water cards to customers, which they use at the water dock to access water. Customers must go to the city offices or Safeway to add money to their water cards.
"The new system would not require cards that are easily lost or corrupted," City Manager Brandon Buchanan said in a staff report to the mayor and council.
The city had budgeted $25,000 to upgrade the water dock interface, but some unexpected repairs including broken lines and emergency valves have prevented the city from paying for the system upfront.
The total cost of the two new systems and second year maintenance is $26,500. The city will pay a down payment of $3,500 and then pay the remainder of the balance over two years at a 7 percent interest rate. That comes out to about a $1,030 payment each month.
Buchanan hopes the new system will be up and running within the next month. The vendor plans to switch one of the two interfaces over at a time to allow current water cardholders to set up their new accounts at the city offices.
Bob Delander, who lives about three miles south of Williams, has been hauling water from the city since 1976. He generally gets about 700 gallons each week.
While at Safeway, Delander usually puts enough money on his water card to pay for two weeks' worth of water.
"It wasn't a big deal for me but I think it's more convenient to be able to do it on the Internet, only because I could make sure that I had money available before I even left to go get water at home," he said.
Delander added that the card free system would also be an improvement.
"If you don't have to worry about having a card with you then that's probably better, because the cards you have to be careful not to allow them to warp or anything like that and it is costly to replace that card," he said.
Buchanan estimated a minimum of 12 people haul water from the city each day, although the total number of people who haul water from the city is unknown.
"A lot of those (water) cards have been out there for years now so we're not sure which ones are active or anything anymore," Buchanan said.
He added that the ability for people to add money to their cards at two locations also makes tracking difficult.
"That's one of the flaws in the system is we don't have any control over that, we don't have any record keeping ability with the old system like this new system will."
Non-residents pay $25.18 and city residents pay $14.89 for 1,000 gallons of water at the city. However Buchanan was unsure of how much money the city brings in from water hauling since the money goes into a general water revenue fund.
Buchanan said the new water dock interface was not intended to increase the city's water customers, but to better serve existing customers.
"Water in this part of the state, like a good part of the country, is a precious resource," he said. "There's not a whole lot to go around so we kind of have to be mindful of that."
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Article comment by:
What if we don't have credit card or debit card and wish to pay CASH? I spoke with the mayor and he stated they didn't think of that when they approved this new system which could easily be haked... DUH
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Article comment by:
A four digit pin is easily hackable. Should be a minimum of eight.