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Water Dist. #4 to seek $2.6M bond issue

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mike McCoy photo - Tim Fowler, above, president of the Water District #4 board, tells the Stoddard County Commission about the district's intent to put a $2.6 million bond issue on the April election ballot.
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. - The Board of Directors of Public Water Supply District #4 is working to put a $2.6 million bond issue on the April 5 election ballot to make improvements and for expansion. Board President Tim Fowler told the Stoddard County Commission at their meeting Monday that the improvements were badly needed and that the proposal would provide treated water to the Misty Acres sub-division located south of Highway 60.

Water District #4 currently provides water to 497 customers in an area between Dexter and Bloomfield. Those customers are on both sides of Highway 25. The expansion would pick up customers on County Road 413 to Highway J, and along County Road 517 from the Union Pacific offices all the way to Misty Acres.

The bond proposal would be voted on by voters in the area served by the water district, Fowler said. He added that the district is working with USDA Rural Development to try to obtain grants to help with the project.

Water District #4 purchases water from Pubic Water Supply District #1. Fowler said the district has a pump station to fill a 60,000 gallon storage tank. When asked how much water used in the district, Fowler responded that the average daily usage is 110,000 gallons per day. He said in the summer that amount increased to around 180,000 gallons per day. He said the present storage tank was not adequate as it did not hold the amount of water recommended by the state. He said the bond issue would allow the district to construct a new storage tank and upgrade the existing pump station.

Fowler said much of the hold water mains in the district were in need of replacement. He said the water system was constructed in the early 1970s, and much of that pipe was glued. The joints are now leaking, so much so that the district is losing water at the rate of 15 percent per day due to the leaks. He told the commission that maintenance and repairs were costing the district as much as $4,000 to $5,000 per month and that money could be saved if the water lines were replaced.

"We have fashioned this project in a way that we can pay for it solely with district revenues so as not to burden anyone with any more taxes," Fowler stated. "This is not to say that this will be a free project as it will be paid for by the patrons of the water district."

Fowler said the expense of repairing water lines led to some rate increases.

"We have already had to raise our rates over the last year to pay for numerous major repairs, and we anticipate another minimal increase this year to just keep up with the constant maintenance," Fowler said.

Fowler said interest rates are at all-time lows, and it was a good time to sell bonds to pay for the improvements and expansion.

"It is our belief that the completion of this project will free up funding sufficient to retire the bonds in a timely manner."

Presiding Commissioner Greg Mathis asked whether Misty Acres was within the District #4 service area.

Fowler responded that the board was trying to determine if the sub-division was indeed in the district. He said if it was found that Misty Acres was not in the district, then the board believed they could pass a resolution to include it. It would then have to be approved by a circuit judge.

Commission Frank Sifford said he believed the sub-division was not in District #4 as its boundaries are currently set.

"Either it's in our district, or it's in no man's land," Fowler stated.

Mathis said a legal description of the area to be brought into the District #4 would have to be obtained, and approval would have to gained prior to the election.

Fowler said Gilmore and Bell, PC of St. Louis had been retained to draw up the ballot measure and to help sell the bonds if the issue passed. He said they would work to make sure all the legal work was completed before the issue went to the voters. Fowler said Waters Engineering, Inc. of Sikeston was the engineering firm for the proposed upgrades and expansion.

"My purpose here today is just to keep you as our County Commission informed and hopefully seek your blessings on this," commented Fowler.

"I want to see it move forward," said Mathis. "It will be a good deal for the county."

Commissioner Carol Jarrell said the project was much needed in the Misty Acres area and agreed that it would be good for the people in the area served by the district."

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