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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of December 3 - 9, 2003


Ketchum seeks $3.7 million bond approval

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 projects.

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 costs.



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