Water Bond 2024 - Proposed

McCall is at a pivotal moment in securing its water supply. McCall City Council is placing a $16.5 million dollar bond on the May 21st election ballot to fund necessary improvements to its water treatment plant and construct a new storage tank to meet growing demands and ensure reliable water access for the community.

The city's growth in water demand has been part of our long-term strategic plan, as outlined in the 2018 Water Master plan. The master plan identified that major treatment and storage enhancements would be needed between 2025 and 2035. However, in recent years, one area that has exceeded expectations is the peak hourly demands during summer, particularly due to early morning irrigation practices. Over the past three years, this issue has become increasingly impactful. Given the recent escalation in demand, addressing the situation has become more urgent. While the project's implementation spans over four years, 2024-2027, its importance and urgency cannot be understated. Not only will completing these enhancements mitigate the risk of not being able to meet peak Summer irrigation demands, but it will also strengthen water infrastructure to meet Idaho Department of Environmental Quality system requirements and fire protection standards, ensuring a resilient and sustainable community for years to come. 

Things to know:

  • Purpose - The bond funds will improve the treatment plant and build a new 2-million-gallon storage tank.
  • Bond Amount - Not to exceed $16,500,000 for the purposes of improving water quality by funding improvements to certain treatment and storage facilities of the City’s water system.
  • Water Plant Expansion - About $6.3 million will go towards expanding the treatment plant to handle increased demand and meet regulatory standards.
  • New Storage Tank - Approximately $6.9 million will be allocated to construct a new storage tank, meeting fire protection standards and accommodating peak demand.
  • Bond - A water revenue bond is like a loan that a city or municipality takes out to pay for improvements or expansions to its water system, such as building new treatment plants or repairing pipelines. In simple terms, a water revenue bond helps cities fund improvements to their water systems by borrowing money and using the income generated by the water system to repay the loan over time.
  • Critical Need - Aging infrastructure and rising demand require immediate upgrades to ensure water reliability.
  • Financial Impact - In order to pay the bond payments and maintain positive cash flow, we will likely need to make a minor adjustment in rates later this year (approximately an additional 2% in 2025 and an additional 2% in 2026), which will result in an estimated increase to the typical residential monthly water bill of $1.43 in 2025 and $2.98 in 2026.  Issuing a bond would lead to a slight increase to the average residential water customer of about $3.00 per month 
  • Environmental Compliance - Meeting strict environmental regulations and a healthy water system is essential, driving the urgency for upgrades.
  • Voters -  If the proposed revenue bond measure is on the ballot in May, the decision-makers will be made up of registered voters who live inside McCall City limits.
  • Are you in the city limits? Do you get a vote? See the searchable map here>

Watch a Questions & Answers Video about the Proposed Water Bond with Nathan Stewart, Public Works Director. 

Pursuant to an ordinance adopted on February 22, 2024, by the City Council of the City of McCall, Valley County, Idaho (the “City”), there will be a special municipal bond election held between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on May 21, 2024, in the City regarding the City’s proposed issuance of water revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $16,500,000 for the purposes of improving water quality by funding improvements to certain treatment and storage facilities of the City’s water system.

The interest rate anticipated on the proposed bonds based on current market rates is 3.83% per annum. The total amount to be repaid over the life of the proposed bonds, principal, and interest, based on the anticipated interest rate, is estimated to be $24,136,750, consisting of $16,500,000 in principal and $7,636,750 in interest. The estimated average annual cost to the taxpayer of the proposed bonds is a tax of $0.00 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value, per year, based on current conditions. The proposed bonds will mature within twenty (20) years from the date of each series of bonds. The total existing indebtedness of the City, including interest accrued as of May 21, 2024, is $3,485,911. The total existing indebtedness of the City’s Water Fund, including interest accrued as of May 21, 2024, is $0.

Learning Sessions

Please review the Work Session presentation packets or watch the video links below to learn more:

12.1.2023 Work Session Video

Council Work Session 12.1.2023

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Frequently Asked Questions
VOTING YES - If the water bond passes, how will this affect my water bill?

Issuing a bond would lead to a slight increase to the average water user of about $3.00 per month but would keep rate increases more affordable and predictable.

VOTING NO - What happens if the bond does not pass?

Since the project is required for health and safety to keep up with the water demand due to our growth and second home/visitor population, cash funding would be required, and therefore McCall water customers could see a rate increase of 100% or $75 per month for the average ratepayer for at least three years, funded through McCall water utility bills.

What does the May 21st Water Revenue Bond Election decide?

The May 21st bond election allows city resident voters to choose how the city will fund the construction and renovation of City Water facilities. It does not decide if the project will be completed but whether it will be paid for with cash or through a bond.

What percentage of the vote is required to pass the bond measure on May 21st?

 In the case of the revenue bond election on May 21st, the proposal would only be authorized or passed by voters, with a required approval from at least fifty percent plus one (50% + 1 vote) or a simple majority of voter turnout.

What is the purpose of the $16.5 million bond issue proposed in McCall's primary election?

he bond issue aims to fund improvements to McCall's drinking water system. 

What are the main components of the proposed water system improvements?

The required project includes the addition, renovation, and update of McCall's Water Treatment Plant.  The project also includes constructing a 2-million water storage tank to support growth and increasing water quality challenges due to the community’s fluctuating water demands, especially during peak summer irrigation times. Also providing essential fire protection volume and overall system pressures.

How has water demand in McCall changed over the years?

Daily water demand has significantly increased from about 1.3 million gallons when the plant was built in 2001 to over 3.3 million gallons currently during peak times last summer.

How long will the project take?

The project is expected to take 4-6 years to complete.

Why does McCall need to expand its water treatment plant?

The expansion is necessary to meet increasing water demand in the city and system requirements regulated by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

How will the expansion of the treatment plant address current challenges?

 It will increase filtration capacity and address disinfection violations that occurred due to high demand.

Why is a new storage tank necessary for McCall's water system?

The tank is needed to comply with DEQ fire protection standards and provide additional water storage capacity during peak demand and for fire suppression.

Where will the new storage tank be built?

The tank is expected to be built in southeastern McCall, east of the Woodlands subdivision.

How is the city's water system currently supplied?

Water from Payette Lake is pumped into the city's treatment plant and distributed through 90 miles of pipeline to serve 5,900 customers.

What are bonds? How long does it take to pay them off?

Bonds are long-term debt, similar to mortgages for homes. The City sells them to investors to finance construction, promising repayment of the principal and interest within a maximum of 30 years. The proposed Water Bond up for election May 21st carries a maximum of 20 years. 

What is a water revenue bond election?

A water revenue bond election is a process where a water utility seeks approval from voters to issue bonds to fund projects related to water infrastructure, such as repairs, upgrades, or expansions.

How are water revenue bonds different from other types of bonds?

Water revenue bonds are specifically tied to revenue generated by the water utility, such as water bill payments, whereas other types of bonds may be backed by different revenue streams or assets

How can bond money be used?

Bond proceeds can only be used for the reason approved by voters. The May 21st proposed bond election would only fund the McCall Water Treatment Facility approved construction projects and upgrades.

What checks and balances are in place to ensure bond money is spent correctly?

By law, bond money must be spent only for purposes approved by voters. The City Council must approve each bond issue in a public meeting. Expenditure is also subject to audits to ensure compliance.

How do I vote on the bond?

To vote, you must be a registered voter as a City of McCall resident living within its boundaries and approved to participate in the state primary election on May 21st, 2024. View the map.

Who will be voting on the 2024 Water Bond?

Registered voters who live within the City of McCall.

Why should I vote?

Voting gives you a voice and a choice on how the City of McCall will pay for the necessary water treatment improvements

How can residents participate in the bond election process?

Residents can participate in the bond election process by educating themselves about the proposed projects, attending public hearings or informational sessions, and ultimately voting in the election.

Who oversees the management of bond funds?

Bond funds are typically overseen by the City’s Treasurer and a combination of the water utility’s management team, governing board, and the Citys independent financial advisors.

How will the bond be repaid if approved?

The bond would be repaid over 20 years through monthly water bills paid by the city's 5,900 water accounts

What is the total cost of the water system improvements including interest payments?

The total cost, including interest payments, is estimated to be about $24 million. 

How is the Water Fund currently funded?

The Water Fund receives revenue from monthly water usage bills, one-time connection fees, and is used to cover operational expenses, maintenance, salaries, and infrastructure replacement.