Sun Valley Water and Sewer District voters Tuesday passed a $4.357 million bond for improvements to the district's infrastructure.
The district saw 212 voters cast ballots, with 173 voting in favor of the bond and 39 voting against. That represents an 81 percent voter approval rate, well above the two-thirds majority needed. Sun Valley sewer and water district saw 24 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
"This bond is very necessary and the voters came through for us, as they always do," said Jack Brown, district manager for the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District.
The bond issue is designed to improve three main components: reclaimed water use, wastewater management and water management.
The annual impact on homeowners from the bond will be roughly $15.89 per $100,000 of taxable market value of a home. This is in addition to the $13.57 per $100,000 of taxable market value residents already pay as a result of a wastewater bond issue approved in 2004.
Following the wastewater bond issue of 2004 and the subsequent enhancement of the district's wastewater treatment facility, the plant is now capable of producing reusable water. The new bond will fund the design and installation of the pipelines and facilities necessary to transport reclaimed water. The cost of improvements for reclaimed water use is estimated at $1.8 million.
"You really can't have one bond without the other," Brown said.
Brown said the bonds the district will buy are rated at A+ by Moody's Investors and will be bought in a competitive bidding process.
The reclaimed water is slated for use on Elkhorn Golf Course, for snowmaking on Dollar Mountain and possibly for Weyyakin subdivision and the Idaho Parks Foundation pastures.
Wastewater improvements include replacement of the lift station at Lane Ranch. This phase of the project is estimated at $600,000. Brown called the current lift station "nearly obsolete." The district has to fabricate parts for the 18-year-old facility because suppliers no longer make the required replacement equipment.
Water improvements include two new wells and a new Lane Ranch reservoir above Weyyakin. The first well will be located at Bitterroot and Silverweed. It has been tested at 600 gallons per minute and will service the Sun Valley side of the water system.
The second well will be located on the west side of Highway 75 and will service Lane Ranch and the lower end of the water system. Both wells carry an estimated construction cost of $600,000. Brown said it is necessary to develop the wells in the short term to finalize water rights with the state of Idaho.
The Lane Ranch reservoir (a concrete holding tank located above Weyyakin whose cost is estimated at $700,000) will service the lower end of the system and enhance transmission to Elkhorn. Brown said the tank should not be visible from the homes below.
"We set them in place and build an earth berm around it," he said.