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Landis approves upgrades to town’s utility meters

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
LANDIS ó The Board of Aldermen voted Monday to upgrade the town’s utility meters and contract with Triton Water Technologies install a Sensus FlexNet fixed network automatic meter reading system.
But not all board members agreed with the decision to change out the town’s water and electric meters.
Alderman James Furr voted against installing the system.
Furr said after the meeting he wasn’t opposed to the idea of the digital meter reader, but doesn’t like the system format. He would’ve preferred the Wi-Fi system, a wireless technology that he says comes with more flexibility.
The system uses the same wireless technology as a laptop does to access the Internet at a cafe, he said.
He acknowledged that system costs a bit more, but said it could be used in various capacities by all departments.
He said the automatic meter reading system, which all other board members voted to approve, is more immediate and low-cost.
The project will cost a little more than $1 million. Triton, a Florida-based company, will offer financing through Hannon Armstrong, a company with a home office in Maryland.
In 2007, the board first considered changing from the town’s current system in which the numbers have to be manually keyed in to get a reading.
At that time, the board was trying to decide between the two types of automatic readers ó one that uses a transmitter affixed to the water tower and the other system in which a person must drive through an area with a hand-held reader device.
In other matters the board:
– Heard presentations from two North Carolina web design companies hoping to develop a new Web site for the town. The board made no decision on the matter.
The town had a site, but was unhappy with the it and disabled it. The site was launched in early 2007.
David Ross, of Red Enterprises of North Carolina, based in China Grove, shared with the board some of the clients his company has worked with, including the Pepsi Bottling Co. and the Greensboro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
The company has been in business for nearly seven years.
Ross said he hopes to work with local photographers to capture some of the scenery of the town and head shots of board members and staff.
Ross said his company could address many of the concerns board members have expressed in the past, including being able to update the site and have a clean design.
The second presentation was from Andy Lynch, president of North Star Marketing-Communications Inc.
The company is a consulting, branding, print and Web development firm based in Burlington. It has been in business since 2000.
Lynch said his company has designed sites for nonprofits and government agencies, including the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation and the N.C. Office of the State Auditor.
North Star has an on-staff photographer, Lynch said, who can also photograph historical buildings or town landmarks. Afterward, those photos will belong to the town and can be used on brochures and other literature, he said. Lynch also tackled the concerns the board had with the old site.
The board has talked about establishing a new Web site since a 2006 budget retreat.
– Approved an amended noise ordinance, effective Monday at midnight. The board held a public hearing during which two people, residents Nadine Cherry and Donald Moore, spoke in favor of the ordinance.
The board talked about re-writing the town’s noise ordinance in February 2007.
One of the major changes would prohibit excessively loud radio or stereo equipment at any time. The current policy prohibits its use after 11 p.m.
Another change would prohibit squealing tires, loud exhaust and excessively loud vehicle operation.
At an April meeting, the board discussed violations of the policy resulting in a civil citation, meaning the violator would be required to appear in District Court and pay $120 court costs, plus fines.
Under the approved ordinance, the penalty for the first offense is $100 and a subsequent offense carries a $200 penalty.
The board’s next meeting was pushed back a week to avoid conflicting with the Labor Day holiday. The board will meet Sept. 8.

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