Along with deciding on three town council seats and a budget override for the school district, some voters in the May 17 General Election will also be asked to approve a $4.5 million bond for the Camp Verde Sanitary District.
With the close of escrow on the $1.1 million piece of property needed to expand the wastewater treatment facility on April 21, the only obstacle left to completing the $10 million expansion project is the voters' approval of the bonds.
It is a project that is supported by every town council candidate, Mayor Mitch Dickinson and Mayor-elect Tony Gioia and has been described as critical to the town's future.
The district has been working for over 12 years on the expansion project that will bring sewer hook ups to the landowners and businesses on both sides of Interstate 17, running as far west as Dickison Circle past the new Wendy's-McGee's-Chevron building.
The expansion will also include a new state of the art wastewater treatment facility, a total gravity collection system and numerous collector lines within the town.
"This new facility will not only be state of the art and meet all federal clean water requirements, it is designed to serve the town's needs for 30 to 40 years into the future," said Suzy Burnside, chairman of the district's board.
By state of the art, the district means the wastewater treatment facility will meet Best Available Developed Current Technologies (BADCT) standards. This means the plant will clean the wastewater to an A+ rating, clean enough to be used for irrigation.
The plant will also treat the bio-solids with ultra violet light so the end product will be clean enough to sell as a soil amendment.
And, as designed, the facility can be expanded.
The district has been close to completing the collection system before. However, their lenders have consistently said the collection and plant expansion must be done as an all or nothing project.
That is part of the reason that it has taken so long to complete the project.
The district annexed property out to I-17, including "hamburger junction" and what is now the Homestead Project, in 1993. Many of the businesses at the intersection of Arizona 260 and I-17 have waited since then for the promised hook ups.
In the mean time, those businesses have had to "vault and haul" their wastewater, which is considerably more expensive than having sewer connections.
Over the years, the district has been able to secure just over $6 million in loans and grants for the project.
They have also had to redesign the facility several times, costing the district $700,000. That money will be reimbursed to the district if the bond issue passes.
They have also successfully acquired $1,447,500 in grants and secured a low cost loan through the federal Rural Development Fund for $4,541,500.
With the $4.5 million bond, the district would have $10,589,000 -- enough to meet the requirement of building a complete wastewater treatment and collection system.
The district has also been placed on the Water Infrastructure Authority's (WIFA) priority list, as of last week. They are at No. 7 on the list.
"It’s a compliment to Camp Verde that WIFA sees the need for the community," Burnside said, "and it means we are high enough on the list that if the bond passes, we will have funds immediately available."
If the bond passes, the project will go out to bid within a month. Preliminary bids have shown that the project can be built within the $10 million figure.
There will be a 120 waiting period after the bids are opened before construction could be started, which means construction would begin this fall.
The district's collection system would be completed within six months. The current treatment facility is large enough to handle the planned hook ups from the new collection system and will serve the district until the new portion of the plant is completed, which is expect to be finished in less than a year.
"The voters of the district have always supported the district and the board," Burnside said. "We hope all of the issues are understood and encourage anyone with questions to contact a member of the board or call the district office at 567-6794."
Camp Verde voters can expect to receive their ballots for the General Election around April 25-27. The May 17 General Election will be a mail in ballot. Ballots must be postmarked by 7 p.m. May 17 in order to count.