TAMPA — City Council members voted Thursday to spend up to $100,000 in coming months to launch a pilot program to read residents' water meters monthly, instead of every other month.
The city plans to roll out the pilot program in three phases, with many of the monthly readings taking place in New Tampa or other northern parts of the city.
"This is a step in the right direction," council member Charlie Miranda said.
In recent weeks, city officials have fielded more than 700 calls about what appeared to be excessively high water bills. In general, they said their investigation shows that the high bills stem from a variety of problems, including leaks, overwatering and, in some cases, billing or meter-reading errors.
Last week, council members voted to suspend the city's two highest water rates, which can rapidly and dramatically drive up water bills in the case of leaks.