If a federal judge orders the city of Rexburg to repay a decade-old disaster loan, city officials plan to ask Congress for legislation to cancel it, City Treasurer Richard Horner says.

Local property taxes could double if the city has to pay back the $260,000 loan, which the city received from the Federal Disaster Aid Administration after the 1976 Teton Dam flood, Horner said. The principal and interest now total nearly $500,000, and interest accrues at $52 a day, he said.The U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has filed suit against Rexburg in U.S. District Court seeking immediate payment of the principal and interest.

The Justice Department has asked for summary judgment, but the city has requested a trial. Horner said Monday that U.S. District Judge Marion Callister is expected to rule in two or three months.

If Callister orders repayment, the city's only recourse would be to ask Congress for legislation canceling the debt.