Midvale City Council members have officially changed their minds and voted to let Sandy keep its old water pipes in East Midvale while they figure out how to finance the installation of new ones.
Council members voted to reject a contract for the $90,000 purchase of part of Sandy's water system that serves the area. Then they voiced support for a plan to borrow about $830,000 and construct a new system this year. Cost of purchase and eventual replacement of the aging Sandy system was estimated at $980,000."That is lost revenue to the city because so much of that cannot be used," City Engineer Duane Goodyear said, referring to the $90,000 price tag Sandy had placed on its system.
Over a 10-year period, the new system would save the city about $300,000 compared to buying the old system because of interest earned on investments. It would also end officials' concerns over fire protection because of low water pressure and maintenance in the area.
The new lines would serve 164 homes east of State Street and 109 more homes in Midvale and in an island of Salt Lake County west of State Street. The area stretches from 75th South to 78th South.
The city's withdrawal from the Sandy contract is the latest move in a dispute over the water lines that has lasted almost a decade. The water system was formerly owned by the Union-Jordan Irrigation Co., and Sandy paid $1.75 million for the system in 1973. Since the area was annexed by Midvale in 1979, Sandy has charged higher rates and has denied requests for hookups to building lots. Midvale filed a suit in 1985 hoping to force Sandy to end those practices.
The new system would be funded through revenue bonds, safe drinking water bonds and getting a loan from the city's sewer fund. It would not affect water rates and could be finished within six months, Goodyear said.
All money for the project would be borrowed. City Administrator David R. Colvin said borrowing would cost the city less than using surplus funds to offset the expense.
"Let's go ahead and bond. Let's get this thing built," Councilman R. Kent King said.
The council also considered, although not as enthusiastically, replacing the water system over a three- or four-year period without borrowing. However, said Goodyear, the cost of such a plan would be similar to that of installing a system this year. The council will make a final decision on the matter during a meeting next Tuesday.