The Laurinburg City Council expects an update on the delayed automated meter reading project at tonight’s agenda workshop meeting.
City consultant McGavran Engineering of Charlotte is expected to reveal that the system is closer to being operational. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
“I really don’t know exactly what to expect. But I think we will hear that the system is working a little bit better,” Mayor Tommy Parker said on Monday.
The project to update the city’s older water meters and to install a wireless meter reading system that can remotely provide nearly real time feedback from water and electric meters was supposed to be done before the end of this year.
Delays related to various software and hardware problems have led to the project’s expected time of arrival being pushed back to the first quarter of 2013.
Provided by Datamatic of Plano, Texas, the “Firefly” meter reading system has come under fire from those on the council at recent meetings, including Councilman JD Willis who speculated that the city may have paid too much before it was clear that the project would be a success.
Council is also expected to continue its work on the creation of a succession plan in the event that another council member chooses to depart midterm, as Herbert Rainer did earlier this year.
Rainer’s departure led to a debate about how council should handle vacancies, and shined light on a deficiency in board policy.
“We have to have a policy in place for in case that were to happen again,” Parker said. “Even if that is just putting into writing our current policy.”
The board’s current policy is to accept the outgoing council member’s replacement recommendation.
Tonight’s workshop is also slated to include a closed session where a personnel matter will be discussed.
Parker said that the matter is related to “the intricacies of trying to retain someone who wants to retire.” The mayor declined to discuss the matter further publicly.
City Manager Ed Burchins could not be reached for comment at press time.
The agenda said council was meeting behind closed doors “for the purpose of considering the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employee.”
Council is also expected to “discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries” during the closed portion of tonight’s meeting.