Town of Waukesha wants in water service area, sends letter to city

Published on: 5/24/2013

The debate over being in the City of Waukesha's future water supply continued for the Town of Waukesha at its Thursday night board meeting.

Ultimately, it voted to send a letter to city officials saying that it accepts the April 25 letter from the city to be included in the water service area with the following amendments.

– All high capacity shallow aquifer wells in the Town operated by the City of Waukesha including the Lathers wells are to be abandoned upon a successful application for Great Lakes Water Diversion (the city is seeking Great Lakes water so it has radium-compliant water by 2018; the Department of Natural Resources is currently reviewing its application).

– Conditional inclusion in the City of Waukesha's Water Service Area only if the City of Waukesha is successful in obtaining a Great Lakes Diversion.

– The Town of Waukesha retains the right to enter into negotiations with the Village of Big Bend for treatment services for town property (which the Town voted on and agreed to at a special board meeting Tuesday).

– Annexation of Town property into the City of Waukesha is not always required to receive water and/or sanitary sewer service from the City of Waukesha and requests will be considered pursuant to the policy of the Common Council on a case-by-case basis.

Supervisors Mike Laska and Larry Wolf voted against the motion to continue this dialogue with the city as they questioned why the board was having this discussion when the city has said the time to be included in the service area has passed.

Meanwhile, Chairman John Marek and supervisors Joe Banske and Brian Fischer voted in favor of these amendments to accept the April letter.

Marek, since winning the chairman election last month, has urged the board to reconsider a decision the previous board made that only included a small portion of the town in the service area on Jan. 24.

After a series of meetings, that included sitting down with city officials, officials from the Department of Natural Resources and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (which included the Town a few years ago when it mapped out the city's future water service area), the board said it wanted to be included in the service area with certain conditions.

These included negotiating a development agreement governing all town land, negotiating a revenue-sharing agreement allowing the town a portion of the property tax payments for each parcel annexed to the city; the city to agree to abandon all wells located in the town, the city to not seek any additional wells located in the town, and the city agreeing not to charge town property owners for water service until they are connected to the municipal system.

But the city a few weeks ago said no.

"We could not accept those conditions," said City Administrator Ed Henschel, who explained the city set an April 30 deadline for the town.

However, the town is not giving up as it has gone back to the city's April 25 letter with a few changes hoping the city accepts.