The Pierce County Council on Tuesday authorized separate bond sales to expand the county’s sewage treatment facility and for an upgraded radio system for sheriff’s deputies and other emergency responders.
The council voted 6-0 to sell $210 million in revenue bonds for the $353 million expansion of the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in University Place. It is the second of three bond sales required to finance the project. So far, about $31 million in bonds have been issued.
Major construction is expected to begin in November. The expansion will increase capacity and meet anticipated stricter treatment regulations.
Utility customers have already started paying for the expansion with a series of rate hikes that will total 63 percent over four years. Those rate hikes will pay back the bonds.
The council also voted 6-0 Tuesday to authorize the sale of $18 million in general obligation bonds to finance an upgraded radio system for emergency responders. The council approved a contract with Motorola Solutions Inc. in February to comply with new federal standards for so-called “narrowbanding” that will take effect in January 2013.
Virtually all of the $18.65 million Motorola contract will be funded by the South Sound 911 measure that Pierce County voters approved in November. It raised the sales tax starting in April by a penny on every $10 purchase to provide money to help build a combined radio network and two new dispatch centers. The sales tax will pay back the issue authorized Tuesday.
Council member Stan Flemming, R-University Place, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting. A news release from his congressional campaign said he was in Copenhagen to address a symposium about the role of reservists in NATO.steve.maynard@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8647 blog.thenewstribune.com/street @TNTstevemaynard