At the request of homeowners, Marco Island City Council voted 7-0 Monday to allow sub-meters for residents on city water and sewer.
Sub-meters measure the amount of water purchased by a homeowner and used outside of household needs. It is not returned to the sewer system. Potable water falling into that category might be used to fill swimming pools, irrigate landscaping, wash cars or other outdoor activities.
"The total flow of the sub-meter would be subtracted from the master-meter for each property in the program," city documents stated.
Jeff Poteet, city utilities general manager, told council part-time residents who only water their lawns while they are gone might benefit most from sub-meters. Also, residents who use large volumes of water for irrigation might reduce their sewer charges, he said.
In any case, Poteet doubted that sub-meters would have much impact if council reduced the sewer cap from 6,000 to 4,000 gallons.
He warned that only a small group would see cost savings. Cost to install a 5/8-inch sub-meter was estimated at $419. Monthly meter reading fees would be $4. In addition, residents would have to install backflows if they did not exist on the properties and meters would have to be replaced every 10 years.
City staff estimated it would take 51,000 gallons of water for the coast of a sub-meter installation to break even. The choice would be an individual decision, council decided. City staff offered to create a cost-benefit analysis for anyone wishing to add a sub-meter.
In other business, auditors from Mayer, Hoffman, McCann presented the city's audit for fiscal year 2011 ending Sept. 30. They found no material weaknesses, no significant deficiencies in internal controls and proper adherence to accounting procedures.
The city showed a positive ending balance in general funds of $6 million. Revenues rose $1.8 million over 2010 and expenses decreased by $825,000.
In non-utility government income, the city took in nearly $15.9 million in property taxes, up slightly from 2010's $15.65 million and 2009's $14.9 million. All other revenues outside utilities contributed to a general revenue fund balance of $23.54 million.
Water and sewer charges for services raised nearly $29.8 million, as compared to $26.5 million in 2010 and $24.5 million in 2009. Operating expenses for the city's utilities in 2011 were $20.95 million.
Liabilities for the city totaled $239.3 million with nearly $224.6 in utilities and $14.7 in general government. Liabilities decreased by 2.9 percent from 2010's total of $246.48 million. In the same period, assets increased by 8.9 percent from nearly $414.9 million in 2010 to $423.75 million in 2011.Of the city's total funds balances, 37 percent were unassigned or emergency reserves.
The auditors made one recommendation to replace the city's financial software. Auditors praised the city for receiving the 2010 Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) 2010 certificate of achievement. It was the ninth consecutive year the city received the award. They also commended city staff for its diligence in compiling documents for audit review.
Robert Lange, the city's acting finance director, singled out Donna Senica, acting controller, for her tenacity in moving documents smoothly through the audit process and meeting required deadlines.
The city has filed the 2011 audit with the GPOA, hoping to receive its 10th certificate of achievement.
City council agreed to skip its June 4 meeting. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held at 5:30 on Monday, June 18, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.