Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bond issue goes before Sun Valley voters

Citizens to vote on $14 million funding plan


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley residents will decide next month if their roads and paths are in bad enough shape to warrant taking on debt to repair them.

This summer, the City Council voted to approve the Five-Year Capital Improvement and Fixed Asset Plan to make capital improvements. The plan is an excerpt from the city's 20-year Capital Improvement Assessment, and focuses on projects that can and perhaps should be done in the next five years.

"We worked for two years, struggled mightily, to try to understand what the capital requirements are," Mayor Wayne Willich said in an interview.

Council members decided to place a $14,150,000 general obligation bond before voters to address issues they felt merited quick attention. Roads and path reconstruction placed prominently on that list.

About 85 percent of the bond money is targeted for road and path reconstruction. The rest would pay for half an aerial tower truck, to be split with the Ketchum Fire Department.

Willich said the more a road deteriorates, the more it costs to fix.

"We're on the steep part of the (road) deterioration curve, and it's not getting better," he said. "We have to step up."

Construction work would be spread out over five years.

The bond may be for a 15- or 20-year term, depending on what rates are in February. Payments probably won't appear on Sun Valley property taxes until December 2012 or possibly June 2013.

The mayor and council determined that this is a good time for repairs, not just because they say they're needed, but because interest rates and contractor bids are low.

If the bond doesn't pass, "we may do something in the way of tune-ups, small things," Willich said, "but we would go to the next election and try again."

"It's critical," he added. "The city can't afford to not do this."

The measure needs a two-thirds majority to be approved.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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