OGDEN — Ogden City is looking to amend its already passed fiscal year 2021 budget to the tune of $66 million, a measure that would pay for a host of water and sewer utility projects throughout the city.
The Ogden City Council will soon hold a public hearing on a proposal to modify the budget by refunding $21.6 million worth of utility bonds that were previously issued to pay for a variety of water and storm sewer utility projects. Ogden Comptroller Lisa Stout said refunding bonds is essentially paying off higher-cost bonds through the issuance of new bonds that have lower net costs to the city — similar to refinancing a home for a lower interest rate.
Also included in the budget amendment measure, Stout said, is another $44 million in new bonds for more construction and system improvements on city water and sewer infrastructure. The new money would pay for five projects that involve replacing pipes and sewer lines, maintenance of storage facilities, replacing old residential water meters with new ones that can be read remotely, and a restoration of the Weber River through town.
According to City Council documents, Ogden’s culinary water system is one of the largest in Utah and includes approximately 359 miles of water line. The city’s water master plan, which was completed in 2018, had previously identified areas that need upgrades to provide sufficient pressure and fire flow protection. Deteriorated pipes in need of replacement are handled according to known system deficiencies and as failures occur, according to the master plan. The city is working to establish a replacement schedule so that pipes are replaced prior to total failure.
Water, sanitary and storm sewer systems in Ogden all have a significant backlog in infrastructure maintenance and replacement work. Some of Ogden’s water pipes are more than 90-years-old, but the city’s goal is to replace pipes after just 80 years of service. The city figures the 80-year benchmark will, for the most part, stop major failures within the system and prevent the population from having to deal with any significant interruptions in utility service.
Ogden’s water metering system is also one of the largest in Utah, according to council documents, and includes more than 24,000 individual meters. The proposed replacement program is intended to improve meter reading efficiency, accuracy and access to water information for residents.
As for the Weber River project, that work will restore a degraded section of the river, near the ongoing Trackline redevelopment area and Ogden’s kayak park.
Stout said the projects in question are all scheduled to be finished over the next three years by the city engineering department.
“Now engineering has the heavy lift in getting this money spent,” Stout said.
Ogden City Council Policy Analyst Amy Mabey said the public hearing on the budget amendment will likely be held Dec. 1. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing will be held electronically. Those wishing to make comment or view the hearing should visit the council’s website for details.