City Council approves water bond and tree retention ordinance
The Grants Pass City Council approved a water bond and a tree retention ordinance during their Wednesday night meeting.
The water bond is needed to improve Water Reservoir #3 which is suffering from deterioration and lack of capacity. Improvements to the reservoir will repair the structure and increase its capacity from 3.5 million gallons to five million gallons.
Councilors had two options to fund the estimated $6.7 million project. The first was a water revenue bond that would rest solely on the water department’s shoulders and would have slightly higher interest, required a $500,000 reserve and required extensive annual compliance. The second option was a full faith and credit water bond that would be the responsibility of the entire city and would have lower interest, no required reserve and limited annual compliance. The full faith and credit bond would also save the city approximately $385,000 in interest. Councilor Dennis Webber, who was in favor of the full faith bond, said, “With this I can look citizens in the eye and say I saved you $385,000.”
Originally Councilors Dan DeYoung and Rick Riker were for the water revenue bond because they felt it would strengthen the credit of the water department but they eventually sided with the other councilors and the full faith and credit water bond passed unanimously.
A tree retention ordinance was also passed that amended the percentage of trees that were required to be maintained on property that is being developed. The old ordinance read that 60 percent of trees had to be retained but city staff pointed out that only 55 percent of the current Urban Growth Boundary has trees. The new amended ordinance requires 15 percent to 30 percent of trees to be retained depending on the density of the property.