Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace sent aldermen home with a rate sheet to study Monday, Feb. 7, highlighting costs for online banking options.
If approved, city utility customers would be able to pay their water bills over the Internet rather than mailing or bringing payments into city hall.
Alderman Larry Burns suggested charging customers a $1 fee for the convenience, which would help offset the city's cost to provide the service.
The board took no action on the matter, and will discuss the issue at its March meeting.
Electronic water meters
The board heard an hour-long presentation by a radio-read water meter salesman and meter distributor.
Pace called the electronic meter and system "wonderful," but said the city could not afford to replace its 600-some meters now.
Rick Davis, representing Master Meters, said the city could replace its meters in phases, or it could only replace the electronic portion of its newer water meters, saving about $30 each.
"The cost of the meter is not an issue with me, but the $18,000 for the system is," Pace said.
Current prices for the meters are about $160 each, or $130 each if the city retrofits its existing meters with new electronics.
To read the meters via transmitter, the city also would need to buy the system, which includes a sturdy laptop computer, flash drive and all software.
With the new system, one worker could read all the city's meters in one day, compared to the eight days now spent reading meters.
Davis said the system will not interfere with cell phone reception, and is easily learned in a two-day training session.
Davis said the new meters can detect small water leaks, control the city's water loss and prevent water theft.
A human-error factor also is eliminated as a clerk does not need to key in data, he said. The meters are designed to last 20 years.
The board thanked Davis and L and J Supply distributor Danny McCord for their time. No action was taken on the issue.
In other business
* The board approved the city's six-month financial report and amended the 2010 budget.
* The board heard that the city will be reimbursed $7,200 for its blood-alcohol machines and $1,400 for cardboard recycling bins. Last week, the fire department received a $25,000 grant, Pace said, which brings the department out of the red.
* In closed session last month, the board appointed Scott Wilcox as fire chief for the city's volunteer fire department to replace Kenny Haney, who resigned in January.
The Mammoth Spring City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, March 7, at City Hall.