Meter changeover causes concern in Landis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

LANDIS — Inaccurate water meter readings and high water bills have caused concern in Landis the town board heard Monday.

The town is in the middle of switching between traditional meters and new, automatic-read meters. Town Manager Reed Linn said it’s been a “rough” two months.

Unusually high or low water bills were seen in February in the town as older meters had difficulty “talking” to the new meters. During citizen comment at the Board of Alderman meeting Monday, the discussion was alive with complaints about high water bills or odd usage readings. Some citizens said their meter had registered thousands of gallons used in a short period of time.

Linn and Mayor Mike Mahaley urged people to be patient.

“It’s a big undertaking; it’s the whole town,” Mahaley said.

Anyone who believes their meter reading to be in error should contact city hall for an adjustment.

“Once we’ve finished with the water meters we’ll start with the electric meters,” Linn said. Someone in the audience let out an, “Oh Lord.”

The board also heard complaints from business owner Lanny Merrell. Merrell owns Merrell Family Dentistry, along with his son, Dr. Lucas Merrell. Merrell complained that the intersection in front of the business is “unsafe.” Merrell Family Dentistry lies at the intersection of three roads: South Main, West First Street and South Highland Avenue. The three intersecting roads make it dangerous for people entering or leaving the practice, and ungainly islands make it a difficult and confusing area to navigate, Merrell said.

The practice, Merrell said, is a growing practice that sees a lot of new patients each day, most from out of town.

“These have never visited the office before and are totally unfamiliar with this intersection,” he said.

Linn called the intersection “a poor design.” Merrell said he’d tried to get something done about the intersection, and the potholes on First and Highland, since 2008.

“It is of vital importance that we do what is right for the people coming and going at this business,” Merrell said.

The board was sympathetic.

“Your road is terrible down there, but really, every road in Landis is terrible. There’s not a good road in Landis,” Mahaley said.

The board looked over a proposal that would see the elimination of the other islands and the construction of a single, large island between First Street and Highland Avenue. Alderman Tommy Garver moved to proceed with doing what the town could to fix the situation, Alderman Seth Moore seconded and the motion passed.

Linn said the project would require a “partnership” between the town and the Department of Transportation, as he didn’t think either had the funds to fix the problem alone.

During the course of the conversation, Merrell and Mahaley both went off topic to talk about restaurants in Landis. Merrell asked why the town had so few places to eat.

“The reason Landis doesn’t have any restaurants in Landis is because people don’t support them,” Mahaley said.

Mahaley is the owner of the Village Grill in Kannapolis. Mahaley said he’d owned several businesses in Landis, and very few Landis residents supported them.

“I’ve been in business my whole life, and Landis . . . is not a business-friendly town,” he said.

In other business:

  • Four town vehicles were declared surplus, including: a 2007 Ford Crown Victoria, a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria, a 2006 Ford 550 little bucket truck and a 1993 GMC big bucket truck.
  • The town expects a planned power outage on the east side of town in the near future. The date and time are to be determined.
  • Sewer repairs are currently taking place on the south end of Meriah Street. Town officials said repairs have been delayed due to weather, and they expect work on this portion of the road to take about two weeks.
  • The board received an update on the demolition of the old hardware store located at 116 N. Central Ave. Demolition of the building has been delayed due to asbestos.

“Once we found out it had asbestos in it, we had to kind of step back,” Linn said.

An assessment was conducted to determine the type of asbestos, and the town is ready to proceed. Bids for a contractor will be presented at the town budget hearing on Saturday, March 19, at 9 a.m.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.