The Manchester Town Council decided last night to seek bids on two water meter systems after the four council members could not agree on which the town should buy.
Of the town's 953 water meters, 512 are at least 15 years old. Such meters tend to undercharge customers, costing the town money.
In one of the systems being considered, the meter is read automatically by telephone. In the other, a reader goes to the meter and takes the data with a hand-held scanner-type recording device.
Town Manager Terry L. Short said that with the telephone system, new meters cost $110 to $150 each, plus $18,000 to $28,000 for a computer and software.
In the other system, meters cost about $85 each, plus about $12,000 for computers and software, he said.
If the meters are paid for out of a contingency fund, their cost should not affect utility rates.
After a lengthy discussion, the council split over which system to buy. Council members Douglas Myers and Kathryn Riley voted for the system using hand-held recorders, while Charlotte Collett and Robert Kolodziejski voted for the telephone system.
The council decided to seek bids on both systems and make a final decision later.
Also yesterday, Marianne Warehime, chairwoman of the Manchester Board of Elections Supervisors, said opponents of a recent town charter amendment failed in their effort to bring the charter amendment to referendum.
The charter amendment will allow the Town Council to fire the town manager on a simple majority vote. It also will limit the town manager's power to speak on town matters.
Only 90 signatures were received, Mrs. Warehime said, and of those, only 75 counted. The rest were from people living outside the town limits or people not registered to vote in Manchester.
To bring the amendment to a referendum, 262 signatures were required.