$3.6 million in water, sewer revenue bonds approved
Long-term investment will allow Airway Heights to update capacities as its population increases
At the City Council meeting this past Monday, Airway Heights authorized the sale and issuance of up to $3.6 million in water and sewer revenue bonds.
City Manager Albert Tripp said the bonds are separate from any part of utilities, and won’t affect the monthly rate for residents. Currently, the city is working with $3,054,000, which would be converted from interim financing into long-term financing with Cashmere Valley Bank.
“Those dollars were previously used for capital improvement as part of our economic stimulus project,” he said. Those improvements resulted in the construction of a water reservoir near Deno Road and converting one of the city’s parks over to reclaim water, which ultimately reduced the amount of potable water being used to keep the park green.
“The next step is to go from interim financing to the long term financing,” Tripp said.
The water reservoir constructed by the city near Deno Road, and on the property of its future 70 acre park, adds nearly 1 million gallons of storage capacity for Airway Heights.
“This positions the city to meet needs of growth,” he said.
The city always had intentions to continue the funding, going from short-term to long-term financing, comparing it to street construction bonds. Changing the bond’s length of time reduces rates, making it more cost-effective in the long run.
“You may have interim dollars to get that performed, but ultimately you turn that into a 20-year bond because that would be cheaper than that interim rate,” he said.
Making the move for a longer period of time will allow the city to perform upgrades to the public works system well into the future, providing funding for projects that will arise as the city’s population continues to grow.
“Both the capital improvement plan and utility rate study lay out the different water and sewer project the city will perform over the next six to 10 years. These two projects were identified in it, and the financing for it is also part of it,” he said. “It doesn’t increase the existing rate structure.”
As Airway Heights grows, Tripp said it’s important for the city to maintain an adequate level of water stored for when emergencies arise. Given the city’s growth in the last two decades, and what will come in the near future, it’s a safety issue that now can be crossed off the checklist.
“Water storage capacity translates into fire department’s ability to respond to fires and other emergencies. It’s important for each community to have enough adequate storage to meet that demand, so that gives us added capacity to accommodate additional growth,” he said.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.