Members of the Monticello Utility Commission have agreed to a plan to refinance approximately $3 million in bonds, but the action must receive final approval from Monticello City Council.
The MUC met on Thursday, May 9 and approved the plan. The bonds are currently financed at a rate of 4.5 percent, and officials indicated that they can be refinanced at approximately 3.6 to 3.7 percent, which would translate into a significant savings.
That money can be used for phase one of a proposed meter replacement project, according to MUC Manager Scott Upchurch. The commission has been discussing ideas for upgrading aging water meters to new ones that will allow an automatic meter reading service.
Upchurch said they have looked at some different options in regard to the meters and recommended they proceed with the purchase of 2,200 meters from United Systems. Upchurch explained that the meters utilize cell towers to transmit data back to the Monticello Utility Commission.
Upchurch explained that this is the technology that many utility services are using right now. He added that this is the best time to look at this, since one of the meter readers for the MUC is looking at retiring soon.
The initial phase of the project would include replacement of 2,200 meters in the county, likely beginning in the Conley Bottom area and then proceeding in neighboring communities.
Upchurch said the MUC will likely apply for matching grant money to help with meter replacement costs inside the city. They are currently working the Lake Cumberland Area Development District to seek grant funding.
The city council was scheduled to take action on the bond request at a meeting this week.
Upchurch updated commission members regarding the meter deposit refunds that are being issued by the water company. He said that customers of the utility up through 1980 who had deposits still on file were issued refund credits, which will be reflected on their May bill.
Upchurch indicated that they will continue to work to issue deposit refunds for several years at a time, until they reached the five-year time frame.
Also during the meeting, the MUC heard the annual audit report from CPA Barry Daulton. Daulton noted that the audit received an "unmodified opinion," which is the highest opinion that can be given. He noted there were no issues with the audit.