March 13, 2013 | LXXII, No. 50

Finance plan seems shady

Editorial

A suggestion to finance a rebuild of Coulee Dam’s wastewater treatment plant over a period longer than it will last should raise concerns.

It’s certainly something that could be done for the sake of lowering rates, but would you finance a new car over, say, 10 years, even if the car salesman told you it would last you only five?

Perhaps all the moving parts of the plant will be new after the rebuild, but even concrete ages. And the concrete in the old sewer plant would be 90 years old by the time Coulee Dam citizens got done paying the 40-year loan suggested for the sake of lowering monthly rates.

Moreover, the engineer’s own facilities plan suggests the upgrades will last 20 years, so the cost of later repairs would still need to be added to the rates.

And, of course, lower rates and longer payment terms would have to increase the overall cost of the loan, by about $1.3 million.

Overall, that financing plan seems ill advised. If hopes for emerging finance partnerships with the Colville Tribes and the Bureau of Reclamation bear out, great. But those developments would be even more welcome not tied to a more costly package.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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