The language in Waukesha's letter to Milwaukee last week about getting Lake Michigan water negotiations underway raises lingering, basic questions about the diversion application.
The City of Waukesha tells Milwaukee in the letter - - read it here - - (I cannot copy it) - - that the four neighboring Towns of Genesee, Waukesha, Delafield and Pewaukee which the City of Waukesha roped into its diversion application without their input via a regional planning committee water service territory map the City requested - - (discussion and map, here) - - do not have transportation or housing plans and defer these matters to Waukesha County.
The letter directs Milwaukee officials to a Waukesha County comprehensive planning website for further details.
That is not a bureaucratic or inter-governmental diversion - - the equivalent of a voice mail system telling you to "press 1 for more options."
That is a problem for the advance of the application and has been for a long time (June, 2009): almost two years ago I said this was the biggest problem with the application - - and I stand by that today.
For one thing, the Town of Waukesha, with a large land mass included by regional planners and the City without the Town's permission or input in the application and map, has yet to give its assent to the inclusion.
And the matter has been hanging fire for a long time.
Yet, Milwaukee has reiterated for years, and is on record through a Common Council resolution signed by the Mayor - - full text here - - that a water sale to Waukesha is conditional on a number of things, including commitments on housing, transportation and other regional socio-economic issues needed in a water sale deal that go beyond a per-gallon price for water.
How is the City of Waukesha going to meet these Milwaukee conditions if Waukesha's Town partners and their residents don't have the service infrastructure to be full partners in a regional process?
A mere letter from the City of Waukesha that says, yes, the smaller municipalities ticketed for getting Milwaukee water are institutionally incapable of meeting the water-selling city's basic cooperative conditions, but here's a website to consult at yet another level of government to consult and we're done with that part of the conversation - - hardly addresses the language of Milwaukee resolution/city policy, to wit:
By the way, that afore-mentioned regional transportation authority included as an example of what the City of Milwaukee expects in a water deal is dead - - killed recently by the pro-road-builder, transit-hating Legislature and Governor, and furthermore - - Waukesha County wanted no part of it when it was still around because it abhorred any linkage with Milwaukee.In addition, for purposes of Common Council review, the community which has applied for water service from the City of Milwaukee shall submit a written report to the aforementioned communication file indicating that the community has adopted and implemented:D-1. A comprehensive plan pursuant to s. 66.1001, Wis. Stats., and, if the plan has not been completed, indicate the status of the community’s compliance with each of the 9 requirements which comprise s. 66.1001 (2), Wis. Stats.D-2. A comprehensive housing plan and can demonstrate that such plan has resulted in the creation of affordable housing opportunities that have resulted in racial, age and income diversification, with data on the percentage of population in assisted and affordable housing that is age 30 or less, above age 30 and below 65, and age 65 and above.D-3. A comprehensive public transportation plan and can demonstrate that such plan has resulted in the expansion and improvement of public transportation links between persons living in the City of Milwaukee and job opportunities in the community which has applied for water service. Such plan may include, but is not limited to, participation and inclusion in the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Transportation Authority or an equivalent entity.
You still cannot take a direct bus from downtown Milwaukee to downtown Waukesha, or to the closer New Berlin Industrial Park, and Waukesha interests killed Milwaukee light rail 15 years ago, cementing, if you will, the isolation of Milwaukee workers from Waukesha housing and employment.
So much for regional cooperation, or finding it at that Waukesha county planning website.
Yet the City of Waukesha letter tells the City of Milwaukee it considers its submission on the Town-and-service territory-map issue matter complete enough to get water sales' negotiations underway.
I can't see how Milwaukee would find that non-responsive response in any way adequate; how does Milwaukee sit down and talk about water sales and distribution to an area including the Town of Waukesha if the Town is not on board with the application, let alone being in the room to talk about it?
Remember, the Town asked the City of Waukesha for a seat at the table, and was rebuffed.