The house was packed at the Aledo Community Center during the regular city council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 26. Numerous residents like Susan Nicholl took the opportunity to voice their concerns directly to their city representatives, while others let their presence echo their support.
For several months as the city has been transitioning to a new AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) water-metering system, residents have voiced concerns related to everything from billing practices to disagreements related to the quantity of water used during billing cycles. Enough residents have brought their concerns before Mayor Nick Stanley, City Manager Noah Simon, and the rest of the council, that the city has sought out an independent company to do a complete audit of the metering and billing practices within Aledo.
To advance that process forward, Simon made a recommendation to the council during Thursday’s meeting for the city to contract Brio Consulting to run the audit. Upon the Council’s unanimous approval, Simon moved forward with the agreement for Brio Consulting to complete a full audit of the metering practices. The project is expected to last 120 days and begin promptly once the agreement with the City is in place.
“The main thing I’m looking for in the audit with Brio coming in is to really go through the utility billing process, go through our systems, evaluate the meters that are in the ground currently that are the old meters, and evaluate the new AMI meters that are already in the ground,” stated Stanley. “What I’m looking for, and what I’m hopeful for in directing the city manager and city staff to hire Brio and implement this audit, is to bring a level of transparency. We look for every area that we can improve on.”
In terms of transparency, Stanley announced a plan to have a committee of citizen volunteers to work alongside Brio to review their findings on a regular basis throughout the entirety of the audit process. Nicholl, a resident of the Parks of Aledo and a community member who has already been involved in bringing concerns before the mayor, has agreed to head up the volunteer committee.
“ will allow the members of that committee to walk through the audit process with Brio,” Stanley said. “This will allow citizens to be part of it, so they can hear from the auditor directly as they go through the audit process. They’ll understand what they’re looking at, the scope of work, and the findings in the audit so that there is a level of transparency for the citizenry.”
On top of working with Brio Consulting for the audit, the council is contracting an independent communications firm that specializes in messaging related to water consumption and usage so that the larger body of Aledo residents are informed as the process goes along.
For the second year in a row, Stanley presented a certificate from Aledo’s City Council to Freedom House for the work they continue to do in Parker County in helping victims of domestic violence. Along with the presentation, Stanley made an official proclamation naming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month within the city of Aledo.
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