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Boise water renewal bond: What it is and how it will impact you

Boise City Hall
Posted at 3:36 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 18:10:11-04

BOISE, Idaho — In addition to three City Council seats, a water renewal bond is on the ballot in Boise. Voters will decide not if the improvements will be made, but how they'll be paid for.

"The bond financing piece would help on upfront affordability but would cost more over the life of the 20 years because we'd have interest payments. If we did cash only, we'd have a much higher rate increase upfront but over the life of the 20 years would be lower cost total," Steve Burgos, the Director of Public Works for the City of Boise, said.

Voting yes on the issue means residents' city sewer utility bill will increase by an estimated 9.9% in 2022. Voting no one the issue means residents' city sewer utility bill will increase by an estimated 53% in 2022, according to the City of Boise.

This is part of the City of Boise's Water Renewal Utility Plan, which outlines the next 20 years of improvements like repairs and replacements to wastewater treatment facilities and capacity to accommodate growth.

This will pay for improvements like repairs and replacements at water treatment facilities over the next ten years and capacity to accommodate growth.

"We have residents, we have businesses, economic development, needs to have the capacity in the system," Burgos said.

It will also fund a recycled water program. As we've reported, the City of Boise is in the research and development stage of this program.

"Recycled water is basically taking this used water that we receive from the citizens and treating it to a very high level and making it either available back to industry or potentially putting it back in the aquifer," Burgos said.

As we've reported, the city plans to start with water used for industrial purposes and recycle it back to those same water supplies.

The program is part of the City's climate plan.

"One of our approaches moving forward to address drought moving forward is diversification of our water supply. We know we have irrigation, surface water, we have a drinking water supply—we think this can augment the supplies that are going to be needed in the future," Burgos said.

For more information on what you need to know before heading to the polls, click here.