Civic Responsibility, Taxes

Sewage Plant Expansion – Bond Issue Needed

Click to see original imageProvoans will vote on a bond proposition, in addition to choosing a city commissioner and a city auditor, when they go to the polls Tuesday.

They will be asked to approve or reject a $5,000,000 bond issue to defray one-fourth the cost of expanding the city sewage treatment plant and adding appurtenant facilities.

The expansion is necessary because (1) the city’s growth demands a larger plant; and (2) under state and federal regulations cities are required to upgrade treatment plant effectiveness.

In other words, the project is a must and it’s our job to accomplish it. The timing is opportune because city officials have been able to get a $16.5 million federal grant – most of which will be used on this project to provide three-fourths federal financing. That’s a favorable ratio. It’s anticipated the matching percentage may be more like 50-50 in future years.

Provo’s sewage treatment plant was built in 1956 and has had two small additions. Population has increased from 28,000 to about 60,000 since.

Cities in Utah County led the state in building treatment facilities then. Now they’re preparing modernizing and expansion and Provo will lead off if the bond is approved Tuesday. The planned facility is intended to accommodate a population of 100,000.

The North Utah County cities of Lehi, American Fork, Pleasant Grove and Alpine are organized and engineering studies for a joint plant are proceeding. Orem and Lindon are planning to go together. Payson, Spanish Fork, Springville, Salem, and Mapleton organized a planning district Thursday night, with Provo also represented but not as a voting member.

New standards provide that effluent quality for Class C – which means water will be of sufficient quality that it can be processed by treatment for culinary use, if necessary. Presently Prov0’s effluent is short of meeting Class D specifications.

When cities of the valley get their disposal facilities updated, it is expected Utah Lake pollution will have been reduced to allow swimming and other recreational uses.

Provo’s bond proposition specifies interest not to exceed 9 per cent. With a Double-A bond rating, the city is hoping to qualify for a 6 to 6.5 per cent rate. Bonds would be issued as needed; construction will be over a three-year period.

We emphasize that the bonds will be repaid by increases in the city’s sewerage charge. Projections indicate the average residential bill will go from $2.72 to $3.71 per month. A residential bill of $8 would cost $10.73. An $8 commercial rate would go to $27.50; and a commercial bill of $50 to $219.

A public hearing on the! new rates will be held if the bond passes. Provo currently ranks seventh among cities in county sewage rates; the proposed increases would place the city third.

The Herald traditionally advocates economy and keeping the tax burden down. In the proposed sewage plant expansion, we have a responsibility in which we ourselves are the main beneficiary – and it would be poor economy to shirk the task: We suggest an affirmative vote Tuesday.