Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bellevue voters to decide $6 million sewer bond

Funds would help modernize city's wastewater plant

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue's wastewater treatment facility is currently unable to treat wastewater sufficiently enough to meet the standards set by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. The city is hoping residents will help them solve the problem during the coming November elections.

On Nov. 8, Bellevue voters will consider whether to approve a $6 million sewer bond city employees and elected officials say will allow them to pay for the modernization of the aging facility.

Approval of the bond requires a super majority, or 66.66 percent of the votes.

With matching grant funds provided to the city by the DEQ, Bellevue was able to complete an engineering evaluation of its wastewater treatment facilities. Literature provided by the city pinpoints several key deficiencies the engineering studies highlighted in the system, including:

· The system lacks the capacity to accommodate existing lots within the city.

· The system is unable to remove enough nitrates to meet discharge standards.

· Several of the city's pumping stations need upgrades.

The literature also warns that if Bellevue doesn't make immediate progress in solving the problem, the DEQ may impose significant financial penalties on a daily basis for every violation incurred. The literature further says that the DEQ could mandate immediate improvements to the city's wastewater treatment facilities and could prevent the issuance of any new building permits in Bellevue until such improvements are in place.

The sewer bond is the only issue on the ballot Bellevue voters will be asked to consider.

Bellevue City Clerk Dee Barton said city residents will be able to vote on the sewer bond either through absentee ballot or on the day of the elections.

Those who choose to vote absentee will have until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, to place their votes, Barton said.

She said those not already registered to vote will be asked to provide both a photo identification and a document showing at least 30 days of residency at a physical address within the city.

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