SHADY COVE — The city will ask voters for authority to issue up to $23 million in bonds to build a municipal water system in Oregon's largest city without one.
If the ballot measure is successful in the Nov. 6 general election, city officials believe work on the project could begin as soon as January.
The bonds would be issued in two phases, spanning two to three years, and would mature in 40 years or less.
The measure allows the city to pay back the bonds with a combination of monthly service fees and property taxes, with the majority paid from service fees.
Mayor Ron Holthusen said $23 million is the best estimate of the system's cost based on revised estimates from the city's engineering firm, Kennedy/Jenks, although the actual estimate is $26 million.
"The $26 million includes a 20 percent contingency," Holthusen said, "and we took off $3 million in grant money we will receive. We might be spending that, but you only have to pay back the $23 million."
He said if not all of the contingency was needed, the actual cost might be less.
"We won't be bonding for the entire $23 million right off the bat," said City Administrator Danise Brakeman. "We will only be bonding for each phase as needed."
Although specific user charges have not been set, Holthusen said voters will know what the water system is likely to cost each home or business before the November election.
In an effort to set those anticipated charges, the council and the citizens' water advisory task force will meet in a joint session at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, in City Council Chambers, 22451 Highway 62.
Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.