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RCC approves buying telemetry system for water department

By Staff, 11/9/21 10:06 AM

ROSSTON – A new telemetry system for the Rosston Rural Water system was the main topic of discussion at the November meeting of the Rosston City Council Monday night.

Rosston Mayor Dale Quarles talked about all the work done to get the water system operating the way it’s supposed to, but said the telemetry system is outdated and there’s no one left who can service it. He told the panel the city has been having problems with it for a while now, but it’s obsolete and the company that installed it originally moved.

Tim Woods, water superintendent, said this is a 24-hour-a-day problem as the telemetry system is a computer service controlling the water towers. It’s supposed to regulate the water flow and keep tabs on the amount of water in each tower, sending out an alarm if there’s a problem. But, he continued, the alarm system doesn’t work right because it loses signal and has cost the city a lot of money. Recently, he added, it kicked both pumps on at the same time and blew out the mains. “I think it’s caused other blowouts as well,” he said. “If we have a problem, we don’t know who to call, but if we switch systems, others can monitor if there’s a problem.”

Woods and Quarles agreed the best option would be to go with HighTide Tech of Little Rock as the company offers good technical support and is available 24-hours-a-day. If the need arises, the company can send someone to help out. Woods said this should save the city money in the long run,  but it’s expensive, running about $20,000. However, he added, it would be worth it.

Quarles agreed, recommending the council approve buying a system from HighTide. He said the city could borrow from one of its certificates of deposit (CDs) and replace the money later when the second round of the American Recovery Plan Act comes in next June. He pointed out the city has $43,500 in a CD in the Bank of Delight and one for $42,113 in Farmer’s Bank and Trust. He said the city can’t wait till the ARPA money comes in to do this with winter and possible severe weather coming.

The council agreed and approved using $20,000 from the Farmers CD to make the purchase, with the funds to be replaced in June. Quarles said this will have the system completely upgraded, except for the pipes, and some of them need to be replaced, especially those running across creeks.

When asked when the new telemetry system would be ready, Quarles said he hopes it’ll be installed by December.

In other business, the council was presented proposed budgets for 2022 and asked to take them home and compare them to the 2021 budget. Quarles said they need to take note of some changes as the costs have increased in some areas. He reminded the panel the water department was hit hard this winter when the snow storm hit, adding the city now has backups for all of its computer records.

Turning the topic to the recently passed sales tax, Quarles thanked everyone for supporting the tax and voting to approve it. The city, he told the council, will wait and see how much comes in and won’t touch these funds for at least six months at which time the council will be asked how the city should use the money.

He said the city had a good audit, though it lost money, which was expected. Overall, he told the panel, the city is doing well financially.