A special election will be held Thursday for residents of a Farmington-area irrigation district on a proposal to sell $2 million in bonds to repay a larger debt.

Residents in the Farmington Area Pressurized Irrigation District (FAPID) are being asked for approval to sell $2 million in bonds that district general manager Aaron Richards said will be used to pay off a longer-term debt to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.By selling the bonds, Richards said, the district can pay off its immediate debt and save almost $2 million over the next 17 years.

The bureau wants to clear debts off its books to help the federal deficit, Richards said, so has offered to "buy back" the loan at a substantial discount to the district.

"The real beneficiaries of this program, however, are the citizens of the Farmington area who will now have to pay back only a little over $2 million," instead of $4 million, Richards said.

Figures supplied by the district and prepared by a bonding firm show that instead of making annual payments of $160,000 and $170,000 through the year 2013, the district can repay the bonds with payments averaging between $150,000 and $160,000 through the year 2003.

"This is an excellent opportunity that will expire this summer if we don't take advantage of it," said Richards. "I hope all citizens of the district will give us their support."

Irrigation district residents had flyers delivered to their doors informing them of the election. The polling place, open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., is in the Farmington City Hall.