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MailTribune.com
  • Eagle Point approves proposal to replace water tank

  • EAGLE POINT — The City Council approved $2.5 million in water revenue bonds Tuesday to finance the construction of a 1.6-million-gallon tank in the southern part of the city to replace one an eighth that size, along with other work.
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  • EAGLE POINT — The City Council approved $2.5 million in water revenue bonds Tuesday to finance the construction of a 1.6-million-gallon tank in the southern part of the city to replace one an eighth that size, along with other work.
    No new taxes will be levied to pay for the bonds, although the city will look at raising water rates to cover operating costs and debt service.
    "We have some water issue things that need to be done," said Mayor Bob Russell. "It's just a vehicle that will commit us to finance things."
    No one spoke in opposition to the city seeking a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program that would be repaid by the bonds, said Russell. The council unanimously approved the action.
    Revisions last year by Civil West Engineering Services of Coos Bay, to the city's Water Master Plan prompted the action.
    A 20-year plan with three phases was developed, with the tank and pump-station work being undertaken in the initial, five-year phase. The plan considers flows and storage needs for projected growth.
    "They have needs immediately in the area of storage and future needs if they grow as estimated," said Garrett Pallo, president of Civil West.
    Reservoir location has yet to be determined, although the choices are down to two sites, said Pallo. In addition, the city will relocate and update its Bellerive pump station and add backup power to a second station on Highway 62.
    The Bellerive station is portable, an unusual configuration, but one that allows relocation to a spot where it will work better, said Pallo.
    "The small reservoir was originally intended for a small number of homes, but the service area "¦ has grown beyond what that plant was designed for," said Pallo. He said the small tank wouldn't provide much supply in the event of a major fire.
    Eagle Point has two other tanks with capacities of 4 million and 3.6 million gallons. The city gets its water from the Medford Water Commission.
    Civil West will provide detailed engineering work for the projects once loan proceeds are available. Finance Director Melissa Owens said it will take 60 days to get the loan approved. Civil West completed preliminary design work on the tank and system for the plan. Pallo didn't anticipate any of the physical work being undertaken this year.
    Preliminary engineering cost estimates showed $2.8 million for the work, but those figures were developed to make sure funding was adequate, and actual expenses will probably be lower, Pallo wrote in an email. The estimate included $2.3 million for the new tank and $478,000 for pump station work.
    "We do see some minor rate increases coming in the next two years, mostly to cover increasing costs, not so much the debt payment," said Owens.
    City Council approved the first water rate increase in 10 years in May 2013. The basic rate went up by $4 to $14.31 per month.
    Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.
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