On the ballot: Ketchum Wastewater Improvement Bond

With the bond, rates are projected to increase by about 5% each of the next ten years.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 9:23 PM MDT
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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — A recent study of Ketchum’s wastewater treatment plant showed a need for investments in aging infrastructure to ensure continued compliance with DEQ regulations.

“The plan outlines about $37 million of improvements over the next 20 years to make sure we comply with our regulatory requirements through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for discharging into the Big Wood River,” said City Administrator Jade Riley.

On the November 8th ballot is a vote for a revenue bond that would account for $14 million of funding for the improvements.

The bond would decrease the burden on residents who have accounts with the city’s wastewater system.

“To help not increase rates as much as we’d need to,” Riley said.

With the bond, rates are projected to increase by about 5% each of the next ten years.

Without the bond, renovations would need to be paid for with cash, leading to an increase as high as 60% in 2023, with 25% increases in 2024 and 2025.

“The improvements we really have to do one way or another,” Riley said. “If the voters, in this instance, chose not to support the revenue bond what would need to happen is we would have to increase monthly sewer rates to fund the improvements fully from cash.”

The overall purpose of the improvements is to ensure the city continues to be conscientious of the water discharged into the Big Wood River.

“These are generational investments, the notion of spreading that out over a longer time period,” said Riley, “so that all ratepayers are, kind of, sharing that investment and it’s not immediately on the backs of current ratepayers.”

Riley invites anyone with questions about the proposed revenue bond, or those interested in touring the treatment plant to contact Ketchum City Hall.