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Residents have indicated support for a $4.7 million water system project - at least those who voted have.

The City Council mailed ballots to 3,000 residents several weeks ago and asked them to vote for or against a proposal to install a new culinary water system and to convert the old system to irrigation and supplemental water uses.City Recorder Gary Lewis said 690 ballots were returned, with 72 percent favoring the proposal.

Mayor George Tripp said he was pleased to have gotten support for the project, but he wished more residents had voted.

"Not as many voted as I had hoped would," said Tripp. "I wish more had voted, but I feel good that we are on the right track according to the citizens' vote. We wouldn't have gone ahead without the vote of our people."

The mail ballot was held in lieu of a special election to save money, Tripp said. The mayor said the council wanted to know what residents felt about the project before doing additional engineering studies and going ahead with the project. The council was not required, however, to go to this trouble.

Informational meetings were held on three occasions to allow residents to ask questions about the project.

Questions, primarily focusing on the pressurized irrigation system, ranged from what would happen to existing water shares to the number of connections that would be allowed per lot.

Lorin Powell, city engineer, said residents will not have to give up irrigation shares if they join the system. Those with shares will be charged less for being on the system; how much less will depend on the number of shares they have.

Those with private wells will not have to give up their wells or to make plumbing changes in their homes, according to Powell.

During the initial construction phase of the project, residents will not be charged for hooking up to the new irrigation system. However, a fee will be charged for those who decide to hook up at a later date.

Connections will be brought to the property line; property owners will be responsible for extending the line onto the property.

Monday the city received confirmation on a loan from the Safe Drinking Water Committee that will be used to finance the project. Two other loans, one from the Community Impact Board and the other from the Division of Water Resources, are expected to be secured early in November.

The loans will carry an interest rate of 5 percent, and will be repaid over a 20 to 25 year period.