City of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County moving toward water services deal
Seven county customers would become city clients
Wauwatosa is moving forward on a plan to acquire seven water customers now served by Milwaukee County, in an agreement that would save county water utility customers $1.7 million in water-main reconstruction costs.
Under terms of the agreement, which still needs Common Council and final county approval, the city would deliver water to the county Parks Administration Building; Camp Wil-O-Way, which is located near Hansen Park on the Underwood Creek Parkway; the Wisconsin Lutheran College Athletic Fields; the Milwaukee County Fleet building, off Watertown Plank Road, west of Highway 45; the Milwaukee County Sheriff's substation; the county's Children's Court Center; and Milwaukee County Research Park.
The county serves these entities through pipes that will be cut off as part of the state Department of Transportation's reconstruction of Watertown Plank Road and the construction of a complex interchange connecting it to Highway 45. This work is part of the larger Zoo Interchange project.
Benefits to city, county
For the city, the addition of the seven customers means $38,777 in annual fees, based on city rates as of May, according to a memo by city Water Superintendent James Wojcehowicz.
For the county, the agreement saves the $1.7 million it would cost to rebuild a portion of its water system.
The agreement also allows the city to lease the county water tower located at Children's Court Center at $25,000 a year for 10 years, after which the tower would be transferred to the city. City Finance Director John Ruggini has said the acquisition of the tower would improve fire pressures in the southwest portion of the city.
Wojcehowicz said in an interview that it was the additional 500,000 gallons in water storage capacity that would improve service and fire-fighting abilities on the far south side of town.
Wojcehowicz's memo estimates that, over the 10-year lease period, the city stands to receive a positive cash flow of $89,927, factoring in lease payments, maintenance costs and conversion costs.
Another aspect of the memo is a "highly recommended" emergency water main connection between the two utilities, put at $68,941.50.
After the lease period, the city also will receive annual cellular rental fees for the transponders located on the tower.
The city's long-term plan is to raze the 60-year-old water tower and replace it on the same site with one more compatible with the city's water system, with an improved appearance and built at an elevation that would enhance day-to-day operation, Wojcehowicz said.
The county still owes some $750,000 on refurbishments to the tower, but that debt will stay with the county, Wojcehowicz said.
In an earlier version of the deal, an amendment introduced by County Supervisor John Weishan added a clause that would require sale of the water tower to the city at fair market value at the end of the 10-year lease period, an addition unacceptable to the city. That deal was vetoed by County Executive Chris Abele and a new agreement was passed. Attempts to attach the amendment to the new bill failed.
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