COLUMBIA — A proposal for an estimated $37 million water bond issue for 2008 was reviewed by the City Council at a pre-council work session Monday night.
If the council approves, residents would be asked to vote in either August or November for the water bond issue, which would be funded over a six-year period.
“If we are going to go for August, we would have to introduce the ballot by next week,” City Manager Bill Watkins said. “If we are going to go to November, we would introduce the ballot likely in ... the first meeting in August.”
Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade said they should consider voting in November because it will give more time for both the council and the public to become educated on the water bond issue.
Money from the bond issue would be split up to fund different city projects.
“We’re spending most of — not all — most of the proposals on fixing fire flows, fixing old mains that break a lot, trying to get all of our existing system up to snuff,” Watkins said.
If passed, water utility rates would increase by 5 percent annually over the six-year period, beginning in 2009. For the first two years, part of the 5 percent would be a 3.5 percent increase currently in place from a separate 2003 water bond issue. The newly proposed bond would increase the current rate by 1.5 percent for that two-year period, and then back up to 5 percent annually after the 2003 bond payments expire.