Ketchum seeks $3.7 million bond
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Ketchum voters in February will be asked
to approve an over $3.7 million bond issue to help pay for needed improvements
to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Ketchum City Council members on Monday,
Dec. 1, unanimously approved an ordinance that calls for a special revenue bond
election on Feb. 3, 2004.
Voters will be asked whether they support
a plan by the city to incur a debt of $3,720,000 to make vast improvements to
the wastewater plant, located south of Ketchum on River Ranch Road. Approval of
the plan would allow the city to issue and sell revenue bonds to help cover the
costs of the project and its debt.
Improvements to the plant include a new
ultraviolet-light water disinfection system, which will produce wastewater that
would not pollute waterways or land.
Council President Randy Hall said he
believes the project is essential to the health of the Big Wood River, in which
a significant amount of treated waste water is currently dumped.
"I think it’s a win-win situation all the
way around," he said.
Hall said the treated wastewater would be
disinfected to a point that would allow the city to "inject" it into the
subterranean water table, dump it into the Big Wood River, or possibly sell it
to outside agencies—such as the Elkhorn Golf Club—for reuse in irrigation
Councilwoman Christina Potters said the
improvements to the wastewater plant will not only benefit the local
environment, but are being mandated by the federal government.
"They can shut us down," Potters said.
"It’s very crucial."
Councilman Baird Gourlay said the city
might be forced to raise taxes if the bond issue is not approved by voters.
City Administrator Ron LeBlanc said that
if the bond issue is approved, the city would retain two options for securing
revenue to pay for the project. He said the city could issue bonds or pursue a
low-interest loan from the state Department of Environmental Quality.
The estimated total project cost is
$7,440,000. Because the city of Ketchum and the Sun Valley Water and Sewer
District jointly own the local water treatment facilities, Sun Valley voters
will be asked to approve a separate plan to finance that city’s half of the