Fire Station No. 3 relocation out of budget

Published on: 2/25/2014

It was already likely, but the Common Council has made it official: funding for the relocation of Fire Station No. 3 will wait at least another year.

Alderman Joe Pieper said city staff determined that construction won’t be able to take place in 2014.

"What we need to do as a city is make sure our borrowing is in line with what our projects are going to be," said Pieper, adding that the Finance Committee unanimously approved moving the project to the 2015 Capital Improvement Program budget.

Even so, there is no guarantee the project will be funded in 2015 either, as it will go through "the same scrutiny that (projects) did this last year."

Relocation had been pursued for the station, 1210 Sentry Drive, to meet the demands of a city that has seen its population increase and its boundaries expand to the southwest.

Last fall the Common Council approved an amendment to the CIP budget at the request of Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings that would allow the project to be funded only if "all the stars align."

Pieper, who said that during the budget process the approval was a "long shot," explained at the Feb. 20 Common Council meeting that all the stars haven't aligned in the negotiation process with the state on the entrance/exit off Highway 164.

Cummings was the only council member who didn't vote for moving the project to 2015, saying it was disingenuous to amend the CIP if the project could not have been done.

"That amendment was made that, come June, we would know (about the negotiations and soil borings that had to be done), but please tell me how it's different from November to present?" Cummings asked. "Did we ever anticipate doing soil borings in January? I don't think so.

"I had anticipated that we wouldn't go out for the borrow 'til later. So we went through all that effort, so just in February we would know all those answers? Now we're asking to amend the Common Council's budget. I think it's very disingenuous to make an amendment and it was approved by this council. And we all anticipated none of this work would be happening in January. Why in the heck are we voting on the item today?"

Alderman Aaron Perry said he would prefer if the Fire Station was relocated this year and will again make it one of his top goals during this year's budget discussion.

"I'm not happy, but understand the reality," Perry said. "I'm confident come the budget (for) 2015 this becomes a priority. It's important fiscally that our books are in order from a financial standpoint, so although not happy, I'll support it."

The station is currently at 1210 Sentry Drive. Relocation has been pursued to meet the demands of a city that has seen its population increase and its boundaries expand to the southwest.

Besides the Fire Station, the Frame Park Playground Redevelopment and Mindiola Soccer Fields projects that had been approved were also removed from the budget.

City of Waukesha Finance Director Richard Abbott said the projects have not been able to secure the donations needed from various organizations.