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City identifies source of water bill issues

Posted: 6:21 PM, Oct 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-09 20:05:16-04

Tuesday’s city council meeting was supposed to include a presentation from Infor, the company that’s blamed for all the recent glitches in city water bills.  But that presentation never happened.

During his report, interim City Manager Keith Selman said it would be “premature” to bring Infor representatives  to council because the team Selman put together is still in what he calls “diagnostic mode.”  However, the person the city hired to lead this effort is already producing results.

“This is a mission-critical system that supports an enterprise system, and it all starts with data,” said Peter Collins.

That data, and not faulty meters, is at the root of the city’s water bill issues according to Collins, an information technology specialist hired by the city.

“The meters are working fine,” Collins said. “If you don’t get that data, then you have problems as it goes downstream.”

Collins says the problem lies with data collection units which take meter readings and send them to Infor for processing.

Of the 82 units used by the city, eight weren’t working.  That means more than 90 percent of the city gets accurate readings.  But for those that don’t, there’s frustration at being undercharged, overcharged, or not charged at all.

“When you’re a part of that small percentage, it doesn’t matter,” said Collins.  “It’s huge.”

In less than a week on the job, Collins says he’s already working on solutions.

“I’ve got staff out in the field working to bring part of the system back on-line,” he said. “Then, the proactive maintenance to go ahead and make sure they’re functioning properly.”

Working with Infor, Collins says it will be two to three months before all issues are resolved.

But in the meantime…

“We’re gonna aggressively get the meter readings and get a system that we already pay for perform as it’s supposed to so we can insure we’re doing the best we can for the citizens,” said Collins.

Once all the issues are resolved, the city plans to credit water customers who’ve overpaid.

As for Infor, Selman says their presentation will happen at some point, though there’s no specific date.