Toledo’s water meter project could cost additional millions

Toledo's water meter project could cost millions more
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:42 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 11:23 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Toledo water meter project could cost the public more money than originally expected.

All customers are getting new remote ones and the total price tag is now reaching roughly $80 million.

While it’s not uncommon for a project plan’s cost to overrun, the city is citing equipment such as residential valve repairs, curb box location services and operation of curb valves as the source.

Some city council members say they want to ensure these overruns still make the project a financial winner for the city.

City of Toledo water customers will all receive the new remote water meter. It’s called automatic metering infrastructure (AMI). Many customers are getting notices to have them installed. Now the city is asking city council for nearly an additional $6 million to complete it.

“We didn’t anticipate enough dollars. The contingency was smaller than normal. Normally you have a contingency of about 10 percent. Some of this we just realized as we were going along,” said Doug Stephens of the city of Toledo.

The city of Toledo is now looking for about $3 million more from the water replacement fund and $2.6 million from the sewer replacement. Those dollars come directly from customer water and sewer bills.

It’s a bonded project, which means the money spent on the project will need to be paid back at an original cost of about $75 million.

Some council members Tuesday recalled old financial projections and wanted to ensure these extra millions won’t make it a financial loss for the city.

“Are we still on track for this net benefit? Does this extension affect that net benefit?” said Katie Moline, Toledo City Councilmember.

“We expect even with this we will very well clear the hurdle we need on repayment on the investment,” said Stephens.

The city has always said there will be dollars to pay it back with the more accurate billing that is expected from the meters. No federal money is coming for this project.

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