Your Vote Counts


On May 19, Bonners Ferry residents will have the opportunity to vote on a bond that if passed will help keep electric rates at some of the lowest in all the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the average American pays 10.29 cents per Kilowatthour (kwh). Idaho and Washington residents pay roughly 8 cents per kwh, while Bonners Ferry residents pay just 6.5 cents per kwh. “I can’t say for a fact we are the lowest, but we are definitely one of the lowest costs in the country,” explained City Administrator Lisa Ailport.

In order to keep those rates low, crucial repairs to the Moyie Dam need to be made. Built in the 1940s, the dam has been patched up regularly, but engineers are discovering that those patches are no longer adequate and major repairs are needed. Per Idaho code, a bond is needed for the City to cover the costs of the estimated $4,145,000 million dollars in repairs.

Deterioration has led to spalling of the dam structure, in essence, fissures, cracking and flaking are occurring, threatening the long-term stability of it. Under the bond, 7 inches of old concrete would be removed, and new, stronger angular rock concrete, aggregate and rebar will be placed to stabilize and reinforce the structure. The City wants to be as transparent about the cost as it can be, but officials believe not making the repairs isn’t really an option. “The patching is not holding up, and the old concrete needs to be removed and replaced to address the real issue,” said Ailport.

Fliers and mailers will soon be going out to City residents who are eligible to vote on the bond. Information on this important bond is also being issued through local media. These fliers address some of the common questions regarding the bond, including why there is a vote, how this will not increase taxes, and what will happen with rates. It had been 10 years since there was an electric rate increase, which occurred last fall, and City administrators don’t feel that they will require another large increase to pay for the bond. “We are watching our revenue stream closely, and we don’t anticipate any rate increases to pay for the bond,” said Ailport.

If passed, the money would be paid off over the course of 20 years—through utility rates, not taxation. This spreads out the cost for customers while at the same time if new customers enter the area, they will contribute to the payment as well.

Physical polling is closed for this election due to policies in place in regard to COVID-19, so absentee mailing is the only way to ensure your vote is counted. Idaho only allows absentee voting two times each year, in May and November, and organizers felt pushing the vote to the November ballot would put them behind in construction, as the project is estimated to take three years and can only be completed during times of low water. Registered voters will receive their ballot in the mail, and those who are not registered can head to IdahoVotes.gov to request a ballot.

There are many places you can access additional information before casting your vote. Bonnersferry.ID.gov is available, and you can also call the City that has people ready to answer your questions, and City Council members are also available to voters.

Proposition No. 1

City of Bonners Ferry, Idaho Hydroelectric Revenue Bonds - $4,145,000 Shall the City of Bonners Ferry issue and sell its hydroelectric revenue bonds to pay part of the costs of acquisition, construction and installation of certain additions and betterments to the hydroelectric generating system of the city in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $4,145,000? The bonds shall mature over a period of not to exceed twenty (20) years, and shall be payable solely from the revenues of the hydroelectric generating system, all as more fully provided in ordinance no. 590, adopted on march 3, 2020.

IN FAVOR OF issuing hydroelectric revenue bonds in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $4,145,000 for the purpose stated in Ordinance No. 590 .......................................{Y} AGAINST issuing hydroelectric revenue bonds in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $4,145,000 for the purpose stated in Ordinance No. 590...........................................................{N}

The following information is required by Idaho Code § 34-439, as amended: The Project to be financed, in part, by the sale of the proposed hydroelectric revenue bonds in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $4,145,000, is the acquisition, construction and installation of certain additions and betterments to the City’s hydroelectric generating system, including the Moyie Dam. The date of the City’s special election is May 19, 2020. The total existing indebtedness, including interest accrued, of the City is $322,934. The interest rate anticipated on the proposed hydroelectric revenue bonds, based upon current market rates, is 3.25% per annum. The total amount to be repaid over the life of the proposed hydroelectric revenue bonds, principal and interest, based on the anticipated interest rate, is estimated to be $5,781,863, consisting of $4,145,000 in principal and $1,636,862 in interest.

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