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Davenport City in Polk County, Florida is prioritising technology upgrades with a roll out of 1200 new smart water meters.

The procurement was approved from Sunstate Meter and Supply in February and will cost $227,400.

“We’re moving into the 21st century,” Mayor H.B. “Rob” Robinson said. “I think it’ll be quicker and more efficient for us as a city.”

The meter installation will allow the city to read meter data sent to a central database, as well as allow residents to pay bills online.

Many residents are still receiving paper bills and need to pay by check.

“Every meter will be on a map with a blue dot,” City Manager Kelly Callihan said. “Eventually, we’ll just have a path around the city with automatic reads.”

Up until now, meter reading has performed manually, taking three employees about three days every month to read every meter across the city.

According to Calliahan, the new technology will require one person and six hours, a savings of about 66 man hours per month or nearly 800 per year.

“We can read a whole lot of meters a whole lot faster,” Callihan said. “When you’re doing it manually, there’s more room for error, too. Everything we have already installed can already be read online.”

Even though the city had installed smart meters previously, the technological infrastructure was unavailable to maximise them.

Callihan anticipates that each of the new meters will be installed in about a month. That would mean almost all residents in Davenport would have a smart meter.

“This will save taxpayers money in the long run,” Robinson said. “We can be more efficient and utilise our manpower better. At one time, the police chief and one police officer did that all by hand. We’re definitely a city on the move.”