PILOT ROCK - In deciding how to fund the city's water project, the Pilot Rock City Council is doing everything it can to stay out of debt.

Tuesday night the council decided to spend $607,715 to replace the main water line running from the city's tank just south of town to Alder Street and the high school.

The council approved the expenditure 5-0 with one absent.

The city had set aside $432,295 for the project. The city will dip into its economic development fund and utility reserve fund to pay for the rest.

The council could have chosen to shorten the line, only running it up Main Street and not on Alder or up the hill to the high school, but council members said if they were going to do it, they wanted to do it right.

"Anything we can get our hands on to extend with this water project, it's priority one that we do it," said Councilman John Standley.

"The longer we put it off the more it costs us," said Steve Draper, city public works director. "If we don't replace it to the high school, someday it's gonna break."

The council also had the option of applying for federal or state loans, which would have taken 60-90 days just to apply. With the need to do construction in the summer and trying to complete the water main replacement at the same time as the street paving projects, Councilwoman Nancy Leonard said those options would take too long.

Another option would have been to go to a private bank for funding.

Cory Teter, who was there from Sterling Savings Bank, said his bank or Banner Bank could likely get a $100,000 loan, but he advised otherwise.

"From a financing perspective - you're never going to hear a banker say this too much - use your own money,"?he said. "And then if you need it, we can come back ... and in a couple weeks have the money you might need later on. And then you can get your project done. Now."

Citizen Glen Smiley advocated the city use its own money.

"For 20 years the city of Pilot Rock has put this off, in good times and in bad,"?he said. "... It would sure be nice to live in a city that lives within their means, and I would like that city to be Pilot Rock."

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