Indian Hills approves $2 million bond | RecordCourier.com

Indian Hills approves $2 million bond

by Susie Vasquez

Staff Writer

A $2 million general obligation bond was unanimously approved by the Indian Hills Board of Trustees Wednesday, the money to be used for improvements to the district’s water and sewer systems.

Funding for the projects will come from water and sewer bill revenues. Connection fees are often used to fund this type of improvement, but Indian Hills is built out so there are no new connection fees, according to Indian Hills general manager Dennis Longhofer.

“That’s one of the problems we have here,” he said. “We anticipate some rate increases in the future, but we haven’t raised rates for awhile and costs have gone up so much.”

The district went through a review with the debt management commission and more, to make sure they had the funding, he said.

With the previous debt, the Indian Hills General Improvement District is carrying a total of about $5 million in debt, said former Indian Hills trustee Art Baer.

“The state took the GID to task when we had that sewer spill,” Baer said. “They went through our system with a fine-toothed comb, put the onus on us and didn’t give us much time to do it.”

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“We have to upgrade our systems as mandated in a certain timeframe. Otherwise we will be fined,” said Indian Hills Trustee Denise Pierini. “I’m not in favor of taking out a loan, but under these circumstances we have no choice.”

The state mandated emergency power generator s for the water treatment plant and a new sewer lift station, after a sewer spill in 2005. The lift station will cost about $700,000 and the emergency generators another $300,000, Longhofer said.

The work covered by this funding source includes $450,000 for the infrastructure to convert sewage sludge into recyclable biosolids and installation of water treatment facilities to remove arsenic. The arsenic reduction has also been mandated, Longhofer said.

“Maximum arsenic standards were lowered to 10 parts per billion by the Environmental Protection Agency. We have 20 parts per billion in our well, so we need to lower that another 10,” he said.

Work to reduce the arsenic levels will start in another year or two, but work on the lift station, emergency power generator will start this summer. The latter projects are in the engineering and design phase, Longhofer said.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.