Friday, May 23, 2014

Hailey voters approve $6.5M sewer bond

Construction planned for early 2015

Express Staff Writer

     Hailey voters on Tuesday approved the city's proposed $6.5 million revenue bond to upgrade portions of the city’s aging Woodside wastewater treatment facility.

     The vote on the sewer bond was 450 in favor and 164 opposed.

     “Thanks to all those who voted,” said City Administrator Heather Dawson. “We appreciate that Hailey citizens recognize the need for quality infrastructure.”

     The city has projected that average ratepayers will see an increase of about $3.50 per month in their bills from the city, for the 20-year term of the bond.               

     Dawson said with engineering for the project 90 percent complete, the Hailey City Council will decide whether to contract with a third-party engineer to review the design. 

     “The purpose of this is to flush out any elements that may cause problems during construction and thereby avoid change orders,” Dawson said. “It is also an opportunity to look for money-saving opportunities that may exist through minor design changes, before the project is put out to bid.”

     Specialized equipment for the new solids-handling facility will be purchased before engineering plans are completed, Dawson said.

     “The cost of this equipment and any design engineering pertaining to it is included in the bond amount voters approved,” she said.

     Dawson said the city will then follow Idaho laws in selecting a construction and management engineer to oversee the project, before completing the final 10 percent of engineering designs.

     The construction plans for the project will then be put out to bid, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2015. The final step in the construction project will be the demolition and removal of the aging and dilapidated fiberglass dome, which should take place in late 2015.

     Dawson said the city has already begun working with a bond attorney and financial advisors to put in place a bond closing at a hopefully fortuitous time. The bond can be sold at any time between now and the launch of construction.

     “The bond market has been moving in our favor in the recent past, with higher prices on bond sales and lower interest rates for bond repayment,” she said.

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