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Scott County voters OK new water district

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

BENTON -- Residents in parts of rural Scott County approved $25 million in revenue bonds to fund construction of a waterworks system 498 to 148 during Tuesday's election.

"You're always concerned something might happen and people will misunderstand what's being voted on, but there really wasn't any reason for anyone to vote no," said Phil Lyon, president of the Board of Directors for Public Water Supply No. 4 of Scott County.

The water district's formation was approved by voters during the April 5 election. With Tuesday's approval, the bonds will be repaid by those who signed up to be part of the water district.

"Now is the time we've really got to go to work and get people signed up to make this a countywide project -- and that's what the goal is," Lyon said. Prior to the election, Lyon said most of the solicitation focus was in the high density areas in the southern portion of the county. So now more residents in the northern part of the county can expect to hear more about the water district, he said.

"The are a lot of people who misunderstand how the bond gets paid and don't realize the issue is paid by user fees as opposed to taxes," Lyon said.

Now that voters have approved for the Board of Directors to borrow funds, the next step is to submit a request for USDA Rural Development to assist in the funding and getting any grant money, Lyon said.

Rural Development will want a certain number of guaranteed users, Lyons said. And right now the Board is estimating at least 60 percent, or 2,220, of the 3,700, eligible residents will have to sign up to make it a viable project, he said. Currently 380 users are signed up, he said.

"We could build a smaller project if we get the smaller amount of people really interested, but we really want to do a countywide deal," Lyon said.

As an incentive to sign up now, the connection fee is temporarily reduced, Lyon said.

"The actual cost to pay ranges from $500 to $1,000, and we've discounted it now to $150," Lyon said.

Users can pay over a six-month period or in a lump sum, Lyon said. But at some point in time, as the process continues, the user fee will be raised, he cautioned.

"Now we've got to really go to work, and it will be a challenge," Lyon said.

Any eligible resident who would like to sign up can do so by calling 573-380

-7557 or writing to Public Water Supply, P.O. Box 75, Benton, MO 63736.

About 10 percent of the 6,790 eligible voters turned out to the polls for Tuesday's election.

Unofficial results, which were provided by Scott County Clerk Rita Milam, are as follows: Miner, 87 yes, 4 no; McMullin, 31 yes, 4 no; Salcedo, 13 yes, 0 no; Blodgett, 73 yes, 30 no; Benton, 42 yes, 31 no; New Hamburg, 35 yes, 22 no; Kelso, 24 yes, 9 no; Scott City, 7 yes, 0 no; Commerce, 37 yes, 16 no; Chaffee, 17 yes, 8 no; Morley, 20 yes, 0 no; Vanduser, 24 yes, 5 no; Oran, 34 yes, 10 no; Diehlstadt, 50 yes, 9 no; and absentee, 4 yes, 0 no.