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Gunnison city officials are appealing to the public for comment relative to a $750,000 culinary water improvement project after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Utah Community Impact Board for part of the financing.

Residents are asked to comment in writing by Dec. 31. They may enclose comments with payment of utility bills, or mail them to Gunnison City, P.O. Box 790, Gunnison, UT 84634, or the State Board of Water Resources, 1636 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116.The water board and the Safe Drinking Water Committee, sources where city officials are trying to get most of the financing, want public comments so they may be reviewed before board members take final action on a financing request in connection with a $600,000 water revenue bond. It is the policy of the committee and the board to order a 30-day period for public comment prior to the purchase of non-voted revenue bonds. Comments will also determine whether the board will require a bond election.

The water revenue bond would be amortized over 20 or 25 years with revenues from water services. The city would not be required to pay interest on the loan.

Gunnison City will pay $50,000 to make up the balance of the $750,000 needed for the project.

Money for the CIB grant is obtained from mineral lease revenue received by the state. It has been received and is required to be used separately from other funding sources. Tim Jones, of Jones and DeMille Engineering in Richfield, said $75,000 can be released for initial project expenses but the remaining $25,000 can't be used until closing is completed for the finance package. This is expected about mid-March.

Townspeople are being advised of the proposed improvements to the culinary water system, the amount of the loan, method of repayment and how utility rates will be affected.

New residential water rates have been approved, costing homeowners $13.50 for the first 15,000 gallons of water and 65 cents for each thousand gallons in excess of that amount. The rates reflect an increase of about 11 percent.

City council members said the culinary water project will provide higher quality water for residents and assure a backup water supply when the quantity of water at the city's springs is reduced because of drought conditions. The city also provides water for the new regional state prison.

It was announced that a contract has been awarded to Webber Drilling to drill a well northwest of Gunnison, costing $57,100. Webber was the only firm to submit a bid.

The city council is also mulling the possibility of building a new swimming pool. The engineer estimated the cost would be between $400,000 and $500,000. Grants are not available, but a loan at 31/2 percent interest from the CIB may be a possibility, Jones told the council. It was recommended that officials in neighboring communities be contacted to see if they might be interested in forming a Gunnison Valley Recreational District that would be empowered to find funding sources for the pool.

In another matter, an increase in coal-hauling truck traffic and an accident has prompted the council to request approval from the Utah Department of Transportation to establish a reduced speed zone or passing lane near the Gunnison Thriftway on Main Street. The street is part of U.S. 89.