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The Longview City Council on Thursday approved a slightly more expensive contract for water meter reading services after the current contractor fell behind on services this year.

The city was paying Farwest Energy Management of Longview $0.82 per meter read, but the contractor in recent years had trouble completing readings by due dates. In June, Farwest fell so far behind that the city declared them to be in default and ended the contract, according to city documents.

The city has been reading its own meters since then, but City Manager Kurt Sacha said it was time-consuming and a poor use of resources.

The council unanimously approved a new contract with Metereaders LLC, which currently reads meters for Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District and will soon read meters for the City of Kelso.

The contract will include $11,800 in start-up fees and then $0.87 per meter read, which will be an estimated $80,000 a year. These fees would be paid by the Water Operations fund.

The council also:

  • Approved the request from Cowlitz 911 Public Authority to join the Association of Washington Cities Employee Benefit Trust.
  • Adopted the Southwest Washington Regional Airport operating budget and governance agreement.
  • Awarded a $134,000 contract to TBH & Associates, LLC, of Vancouver to stabilize the slope on 38th Avenue between Memorial Park Drive and Ocean Beach Highway.
  • Heard from about 15 people who spoke in support of Storytime with Goddess, a family event at the Longview Library hosted by local drag queen Goddess.

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