Rifle: Voters approve additional sales tax to help finance new water treatment plant

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From The Rifle Citizen Telegram (Mike McKibbin):

By an overwhelming margin, Rifle voters said they wanted to share the cost of a new water treatment plant with shoppers and approved a 3/4 of a cent sales and use tax rate hike in Tuesday’s general election. Question 2A asked voters to approve the increase in exchange for lower future water rate hikes needed to build and operate a new $25 million water treatment plant…

The tax hike will take effect in January, raise an estimated $1.65 million a year, and increase the city’s sales and use tax rate from 3.5 cents to 4.25 cents…

The city borrowed $25.5 million from the Colorado Water and Power Development Authority to build the new plant. The loan comes from a special fund dedicated to water projects. The effective interest rate will be 1.86 percent, with $2 million loaned interest-free, resulting in what city officials called “an overall historic low loan rate.”

Repayment requirements of the loan led to sharply higher water rates in September, and more than doubled some customers’ water bills, payable in October. Money from the higher water rates will help pay for operations and associated costs of the new plant.

Miller said a few months into the new year, the city will look at how revenues are coming in from the tax hike, then very likely sharply reduce the September rate hikes, both base and tiered rates.

More Rifle coverage here.

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