During Tuesday morning’s meeting, the Brownwood City Council unanimously approved a request to move funds totaling $145,000 within the current budgets in order to purchase water meter antennas for Automatic

Meter Reading (AMR) before the end of the fiscal year.

The City of Brownwood began buying and installing AMR compatible meters in 2010, and the number currently stands at 2,000.

“Approving the purchase of antennas doesn’t say we have to go to AMR next year, it is saying we’re going to AMR at some point,” City Manager Emily Crawford said during the meeting. “It’s less than $40,000 to purchase the software and equipment we need. The idea is we would phase it in over time so we would start with this particular group of 2,000 and get them on the automatic reading system and then each year we add however many we have the capability of in that budget year.

“When we looked at this in the past we looked at it from the idea of doing an integration of the entire city and the entire system, which would require a couple of million dollars. What we’re looking at is instead of doing a full integration in one year, doing it over four or five years.”

The money will be transferred from a fund devoted to the purchase of pipe each year.

“We have enough pipe right now to take care of next year, and the warehouse also has some pipe we can use,” Henry Wied, Director of Public Works - Utilities, said during his presentation to the chamber.

The council also unanimously approved an amendment to the Chapter 380 agreement between the City and the BMDD transferring $500,000 back to the city.

“I’ve talked with a couple of potential projects in the works, they may or may not happen, but we’d like to go ahead and move $500,000 with an additional amendment from the MDD to the city earmarked for economical development projects,” BMDD executive director Ray Tipton said during his presentation to the chamber. “Doing this now expedites the process so we have the money there if we have a project come to us and we can go ahead and cut through some red tape. The mechanics would be the same, but it would technically be a city project the MDD will manage. There’s about $170,000 in that fund, and this $500,000 would add to it. We typically budget $300,000 to $350,000 for projects every fiscal year, so this is about two years worth just so we have it there and make the process simpler.”

The council also conducted a public hearing and approved on first reading the closure of a 15-foot wide undeveloped alley located in the Ford Addition, Block 3, between Avenue B and the alley between First and Second Street.

The council also approved:

• BMDD board action for a Building Improvement Incentive Program (BIIP) grant to William Stephen Ellis not to exceed $10,935 for a property located at 108 W. Anderson.

• BMDD board action for a Building Improvement Incentive Program (BIIP) grant to Painter & Johnson Financial not to exceed $3,037 for a property located at 201 W. Adams.

• BMDD board action for a Building Improvement Incentive Program (BIIP) grant to Alejandra Ortega not to exceed $20,000 for a property located at 528 W. Commerce.