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Sunset working with Marion on deal for new water meters


City looking for funding to replace outdated equipment

Sunset water customers may be getting new water meters soon.

The city informed Marion, which provides the city with water and handles the billing, that they plan to replace the existing radioread meters which have reached the end of their life span.

According to Mayor Frank Fogleman, Sunset has about 250 water meters.

“The goal, from what I am being told, is to replace all of the meters,” Fogleman said.

Fogleman said Sunset is working with Communities Unlimited, which offers loans for water projects and economic development projects to small, rural, under-served communities, to fund the project.

Communities Unlimited serves Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The loans allow communities to make necessary repairs and improvements to ensure safe drinking water and compliance.

“They are searching for financial assistance for the meters,” Fogleman said.

Fogleman said the meters cost about $40 apiece to replace but does not include installation.

“When you talk about $40 on 250 meters, you’re looking at a $10,000 expense,” Fogleman said.

Sunset and Marion haven’t worked out any details yet about who would install the meters.

“That’s undetermined,” Fogleman said. “We have not resolved who is going to install them. We don’t know whether it would be a private company who does that, or the City of Marion.”

Marion has experience replacing and installing new water meters. In 2016, Marion spent $1.3 million to replace about 3,500 radio read water meters with new ones that transmit data using cell phone technology, and another $150,000 to have them installed by the manufacturer.

Fogleman said he is waiting to hear back from Sunset about how they want to proceed.

“We want Sunset’s concurrence and okay that it is the right thing to do,” Fogleman said. “And I want to present it to the water and sewer committee to make sure they are on board. I feel like both cities need to be on the same page in order to move forward.”

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