Oak Lodge Sanitary District GO Bond

In 2009, Oak Lodge Sanitary District authorized the sale of revenue bonds to support construction of new and upgraded wastewater treatment facilities. In the aftermath of the bond market collapse last year, the Oak Lodge Sanitary District determined that it could save customers $20 million in borrowing costs over 15 years by switching from revenue bonds to G.O. (General Obligation) bond funding.

The Barney & Worth team was retained by the District in late August to initiate public opinion research, develop a public education plan and develop themes and messaging for education outreach.  An initial telephone poll fielded in mid-September determined only 32% of district voters supported this approach.  However, the poll and focus groups suggested District customers were also hungry for information and responded well to informational messages that described project benefits.  Barney & Worth’s fast-paced public education campaign spread the word to every household.  In the end, by election day (November 2) the G.O. bond measure passed with 85% voter support.