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Wesson plans meter reading upgrade

Meter readers in Wesson are going high tech.

Mayor Alton Shaw said during Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen that the water department’s current equipment is in serious need of modernization. He said it leaves too much room for human error, and an upgrade would cut down on mistakes.

So, after a brief discussion, the board unanimously approved his proposal.

“Right now, our readers go out and manually enter data,” Shaw said. “The new equipment will help prevent errors, because it downloads information into our system without having to transfer it from paper to the computer.”

Once the change takes effect, Wesson’s meter readers will use a pair of handheld, military-grade devices to collect information, and the gear will digitally transfer usage measurements directly to the city’s database.

The municipal government plans to pay $2,900 for the new system, but Shaw expects a $600 rebate from the equipment manufacturer.

“We pay an annual maintenance fee on our current system, and $2,000 of the fee for the new system will strictly cover the cost of the new hardware,” he said.

He believes the new measurement tools are a wise purchase, because they are relatively user-friendly and won’t require the city’s meter readers to undergo any extra training.

Before adjourning, the board also reviewed Wesson’s yearend list of claims, and a recent invoice for animal abatement was of particular interest to the aldermen.

The city spent $200 on the removal of a scurry of squirrels from the ceiling of the Wesson Police Department. The rodents chewed through a cluster of electrical wires over the course of several weeks and had to be exterminated to prevent further damage.