Public works projects eyed

$3 million loan will finance Dallas land purchase, more

DALLAS — The city of Dallas has secured a more than $3 million short-term loan to finance several public works projects, including purchasing property surrounding Mercer Reservoir on Rickreall Creek, the city’s water source.

Another major project to be paid for with the loan is installing an automatic meter reading (AMR) system for the water plant, an item that has been on the city’s to-do list for at least three years.

City Manager Ron Foggin said the watershed property purchase, about 300 acres of land including and surrounding the reservoir, was part of the recommendations in the city’s 2013 rate study.

The first phase of the AMR project is estimated to cost $1.2 million and will replace every water meter in the city more than 25 years old. Other projects include developing a storm drain master plan, wastewater treatment plant equipment upgrades and wastewater pump station upgrades.

Foggin said an opportunity to buy the property emerged recently and the city’s property management team is looking into the purchase. That, combined with the need to move forward with the AMR project, pushed the city to find quick financing options.

“The short-term loan allows us to get the projects going and look at the best financing mechanisms,” Foggin said.

Among those longer-term finance options are low-interest state loans for public works improvements, including a Department of Environmental Quality loan for drinking water projects.

“It’s attractive long-term financing,” Foggin said.

The city council approved a resolution on Oct. 20 to secure the loan in the amount of $3,025,000, provided by Cashmere Valley Bank out of Washington.

In other business, the council:

• Acting as the Urban Renewal Board of Directors, approved donating up to $2,500 to help pay for an interpretative sign at the Main Street access to the Rickreall Creek Trail. The sign is one of three slated to be installed on the trail through a Ford Leadership Institute class project. Each sign will mark the location on a map and provide historical or environmental (plants, landscape features) information about the area surrounding the trail.

• Heard an update on the development of the “Dallas Leadership Academy,” which will host classes for citizens about the day-to-day operations of the city.

A council goal, the academy would provide several classes, including “the day in the life of a city councilor” and overview of city finances and budgeting. Each class would be between two and three hours and the program is slated to run once a year, more if it proves to be popular.

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