Do we really need another “What’s wrong with RI”?


Some towns in RI are finding out the hard way just how deep in the bag our General Assembly is for some unions.  As the Providence Journal recently did a story on, towns are required to hire licensed plumbers to update the water meters on houses.  Changing the water meters will be a savings for the town in that with the old meters, someone needs to physically walk up to each meter to get a reading.  With the new meters, a person only needs to drive by to get the reading.  This results in a huge savings on staffing.  However the cost to hire a plumber over a water meter company can be double or triple, as evidenced in North Kingstown:

They rejected far lower bids from an Ohio meter installer and a Providence engineering firm and awarded the work to the highest bidder, Atlantic Control Systems Inc. The company is owned by a local plumber, James R. Grundy, who serves on the town Planning Commission.

Because the Atlantic Control bid was three times higher than the others, the town decided to do only half the job — spending $526,000 to do 3,500 meters.

The Ohio firm bid $388,000 to replace 7,500 meters.

So NK spent more for doing less.  Maybe the job really requires a plumber?  Maybe the job is hard to do?  Newport Mayor Napolitano checked it out for herself.  Here is the process as described by the head of the Ohio firm mentioned above:

You simply shut off the water supply to a house, loosen two large nuts, and the old meter falls out. Put the new one in, and tighten the nuts.

Ok, well maybe we have a glut of plumbers that just love to do this job and should be paid accordingly, right?

Most plumbers don’t want any part of such work, he said. It’s dull and repetitive. And, it’s just a small part of doing a system-wide change of meters. Most of the work in that case is clerical and involves scheduling visits to houses. Replacing the meters is a minor part of the job

People wonder why RI taxes are so high and why it’s such a burden on businesses to get work done?  It’s laws like this one where the General Assembly is only looking out for its own.


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