By Jessica Mathews /

The next phase in an ongoing project to swap out water meters and boost efficiency throughout the City of Howell has been approved.

The Howell City Council met virtually Monday night and approved a proposal from Ferguson Waterworks for the hardware and installation of 522 residential and commercial meters in Ward 2 for an amount not to exceed $206,393. The item is budgeted and the changeover of Ward 2 will keep plans on track for the 3 to 4 year projected changeover of the entire City.

Ward 2 is comprised of the area where City Hall and the DPW building are located, south of Grand River and east of Michigan Avenue. The meter change out in Ward 2 continues with converting the old touch pad reading system over to an AMR/AMI system. It will also include installation a V4 Gateway or data collector. That device will read all meters within range of it wirelessly. It will be able to read all of the meters installed in years one and two of the program upon installation, as well as years three and four once installed.

A memo noted the Department of Public Services has already noticed many benefits as a result of the changeover to the new system, including less re-reads in certain routes and a significant time savings. The addition is said to have cut meter reading time by one day or more and frees up a staff member to attend to other needed projects.