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Preston hopes to pass bond to replace city’s two main water lines

Election day is a little more than a week away and several counties are hoping to pass bonds.

One local bond is Preston’s $1.5 million bond for the replacement of city water lines.

About 1 1/2 miles of the city’s two main water lines running from the city storage tanks into town are leaking. Current mayor Mark Beckstead said the previous mayor and city council used city reserve funds to fix about 60 percent of the smaller, 18-inch, water line. That’s what work is being done now.

But he said the larger, 20-inch, line running next to it needs to be replaced too. And that’s what the bond is for.

Beckstead said replacing the water lines is a must for the city.

“If one of those gives way, then we can’t supply enough water to the city in July and August and what we’d have to do is we’d have to cut down the water use somehow,” Beckstead said. “The other problem you have is, we’ve been lucky so far and we haven’t been getting any bacteria or anything in our water, but that could happen really easily to where we got some contamination into the water system.”

To pay for the project, Preston is eligible for a $500,000 block grant. If the bond passes, the rest of the money would come from loans from the USDA.

Beckstead said the important thing for citizens to know is that it won’t cost them any additional money.

“With the budget that we just passed and started in October, we raised the water rates by $10 and that $10 will cover the loans that we get to do this project,” he said. “It’ll also replenish the reserves we depleted in replacing the smaller water line.”

The city is also working on getting an impact area between Franklin County and Preston. The area would cover 1400 North, 1400 South, 1400 East and 1400 West. Anyone in those areas would have the option to annex into the city and use city water. Beckstead said even though it would be city water, those residents would still follow county ordinances and regulations.

Beckstead said the smaller line should hopefully be done in the next month. Then, if the bond passes, the city would shut off the 20-inch line to let it dry out so work could begin in the spring or early summer. It plans to have it completed and running again by July, the peak of the water season.

Beckstead said he hopes people understand this really is a necessary bond.

“If the citizens want to continue to have city water, and the quality of city water we have, we have no choice but to replace these two water lines,” he said.

Beckstead said there will be two open houses for the public. The city will talk about the project and answer questions from the public.

The first open house will be Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 6-8 p.m. The second will be Thursday, Nov. 3 from 6-8 p.m. Both open houses will be held at the Larsen-Sant Library in Preston.

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