Swimming in green: $14.5M loan will pay for Prescott water projects

The Daily Courier/Les Stukenberg
<br>Prescott Mayor Rowle Simmons accepts a ceremonial check for the loan of $14.5 million from Water Infastructure Finance Authority of Arizona Chairman Steve Owens during a ceremony at City Hall on Monday. 9.8 million dollars of the loan will be used for several drinking water projects and $4.7 million for sewer upgrades around the Prescott area.

The Daily Courier/Les Stukenberg <br>Prescott Mayor Rowle Simmons accepts a ceremonial check for the loan of $14.5 million from Water Infastructure Finance Authority of Arizona Chairman Steve Owens during a ceremony at City Hall on Monday. 9.8 million dollars of the loan will be used for several drinking water projects and $4.7 million for sewer upgrades around the Prescott area.

PRESCOTT - City of Prescott officials Monday accepted a $14.5 million loan from the Water Infrastructure Authority of Arizona for drinking water and wastewater projects.

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens, who serves as WIFA chairman, said the WIFA Board of Directors approved two loans to the city: $9.8 million for drinking water projects and $4.7 million for sewer upgrade, rehabilitation and replacement projects.

City Finance Director Mark Woodfill said WIFA loans have a lesser interest rate and borrowing cost than other municipal financing options.

"WIFA is a state revolving fund that provides loans for wastewater and drinking water improvements, typically to rural cities and towns," he said. "A conservative estimate is that the city will save about $900,000. However, I think it is more like $1 million. That $900,000 to $1 million is then available for other city projects."

Mayor Rowle Simmons said the city's finance department estimates the city's savings at $1.3 million.

Simmons said the city would use the money for six projects at the wastewater treatment plant and seven drinking water projects.

"We are covering a lot of bases. It is even better that the money is not going to just one project," Simmons said.

ADEQ Northern Regional Office Director Matthew Capalby said cities and towns often use WIFA loans as "seed" money for applying for grants. He said WIFA usually approves loan applications more rapidly than other lenders.

The $9.8 million loan will go to improve the city's drinking water distribution system: Willow Creek Transmission Line Relocation and Upgrade; Water Meter Change-Out Program; Recharge Intake Pipeline Replacement; Airport Recharge Facility Recovery Wells; and the upgrade and rehabilitation of Gail Gardner Way and Iron Springs Road.

The $4.7 million loan will pay for sewer upgrades, rehabilitation and replacement projects, including five areas that will connect to the Sundog Wastewater Treatment Plant: Gail Gardner Way, Iron Springs Road, Copper Basin Road, Ruth Street/Demerse Street sewer and Gurley Street (Arizona to Bradshaw) sewer.

"We are delighted to be able to help the City of Prescott fund these important drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements," Owens said. "Prescott is one of the fastest growing communities in Arizona, and it is critical that the city has the infrastructure to support the growth in population and economic development they are experiencing. These are more than just loans to the city; they are an investment in Prescott's future."