Bond Issue Would Overhaul Capital Sewers

8 years 2 days 17 hours ago Monday, October 18 2010 Oct 18, 2010 Monday, October 18, 2010 6:16:24 PM CDT October 18, 2010 in News

JEFFERSON CITY - The second phase of a plan to improve Jefferson City's sewer system will go to a vote on November 2. The $35 million bond issue would repair leaks and replace old lines. A 5 to 6 percent increase in sewer rates each year over seven years would pay back the bonds.

The project would be financed through low-interest state loans and bond sales. City officials say the average resident's bill would increase from about 21 to 30 dollars by 2017. A city engineer says if the bond does not pass, the work will still have to be done and it may cost more in the future.

"A lot of the utility that we're using right now is 50 to 100 years old. So the technology back then wasn't so good," wastewater director Eric Seaman said.

City officials say the first priority is to replace a force main off Sue Drive. It has broken seven times in the past two years, often flooding the yards around it. Bruce Magee's mother lives behind this force main. He said her yard floods with sewage every time the force main breaks.

"We've had to really struggle," Magee said. "Dirt and grass seed doesn't really work. We've had to lay down sod and pin it in just to keep it held in."

He says he hopes the bond issue passes because paying a rate increase would probably be cheaper for him over time than constantly replacing the sod.

"If there's a bond in place that can take the money and put it to the proper use, and it not be wasted and it be spent correctly, and really repair the problems correctly, then I think it's worth it," Magee said.

City officials say they don't know of formal opposition to the bond, but some residents have expressed concerns about user rate increases at past town hall meetings. City officials said regardless of whether the bond passes, some work may start as early as January 2011.

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