Athol voters will head to the polls today to decide whether to approve a $70,000 bond to improve the Idaho city’s feeble water pressure.
Mayor Jean Hill said Monday night, the bond won’t cost citizens any extra money.
“We already raised our water rates to cover the bond payments,” she said. But the vote is still required by law, she said.
“We need 50 percent plus one,” she said.
The only polling place is the Athol Community Building, near the intersection of Third Street and Highway 54. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mayor Hill said.
The bond is part of a water project costing roughly $667,000.
If voters don’t approve the bond for “matching funds,” the city won’t get a badly needed state grant for the water system.
That granted already has been awarded.
The project will increase water pressure, plus provide an extra 300,000-gallon reservoir for summer demand and fighting fires.
Workers will replace many of the city’s small water lines.
The city’s current water system can’t meet “even minimum fireflow requirements,” the city said in its grant request.
“If they want to better they’re town’s water situation, they’d better vote for it,” said Mayor Hill.
“We need the fire protection.”
Last summer, Athol was one of several Panhandle towns that limited summer water use because of old pumps and other equipment.
On July 27, the city’s taps ran dry, after a reservoir float malfunctioned.
The city saved $120,000 for the project. This spring, Gov. Phil Batt approved a $309,000 grant to Athol. It was one of only four such grants in North Idaho.