Saturday, March 9, 2013

Who Is Redrawing Waukesha's Water Service Map

The water and border wars between the City and Town of Waukesha had led the Town recently to withhold most of its acreage from possible future Lake Michigan water service by the City - - service that the Town had not requested.

The City is unhappy with the Town's decision - - likely meaning fewer City-connected customers down the road and thus the need to seek less Lake Michigan water - - though the City is looking to annex 128 Town acres anyway to make sure raw land set aside for school construction could get City services if need be , as the Journal Sentinel reports.

How, you ask, is this service territory question so fouled up?

Turns out that the regional planning commission, (SEWRPC), had put nearly all of the Town almost five years ago in the City's future water supply map - - without telling the Town  - - at the time the City was drafting its as-yet-completed-and approved application to divert Lake Michigan water.

SEWPRC said the Town was in and on the map, the City said OK, and only then did the Town find out.

No hearings. No notices. Nothing. Direction by fiat, and I don't mean in little Italian cars.

Some way to make policy and deal with residents, their property and an entire municipality, let alone Great Lakes water policy that eventually will need eight states to say, 'hey - - we like your style.'

What I find interesting about this long, tedious and seemingly-endless water diversion application drafting and policy-making is that the City's communications with SEWRPC about first drawing the map, and then the redrawing now years later years later to meet the Town's 'get-us-mostly-out' position were and continue to be carried out between two unelected officials:

The water utility manager, Daniel Duchniak, and SEWRPC's Executive Director, Ken Yunker.

Yunker and Duchniak are engineers and agency managers who report to appointed commissions - - SEWRPC has 21 unelected commissioners from seven southeastern Wisconsin counties, and Waukesha's Water Utility Commission has seven members - -  five citizens, plus one aldermen and the Waukesha mayor.

You'd think that an elected body or representative would be signing such communications and thereby signing off on the local and regional economic, development and public policy implications involved.

Not to mention the further impacts on the course of the City of Waukesha's contentious, precedent-setting application under the legal strictures of the eight-state Great Lakes Compact to divert water outside of the Great Lakes basin and return it perhaps through waterways running through other communities, such as Brookfield, Wauwatosa, Milwaukee and Racine.

Accountability really rests with elected officials, but their role in the drawing and now redrawing of the water service map, and thus the establishment of the amount of Great Lakes water sought  - - key components of a diversion application that ultimately must be approved by all eight Great Lakes states - -is hard to spot at this juncture.

Because unelected bureaucrats are in control.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to the JS article it is unclear exactly what are the boundries of the Town and what are the boundaries of the City. It appears that some current Town land owners want to be annexed. How then, can SEWRPC draw such fluxed lines? Like the demilitarized zone at the end of the Korean Conflict, some property owners will go north and some south (figuratively). How long will this process take? Until the final borders are drawn, there can be no review by the DNR for an EIS. The total required diversion cannot be determined for the application until all known estimates are calculated.

What a mess.

First the Milwaukee as a supplier fiasco, now this.

The way this entire process has been forced, Waukesha must withdrawn it's application to avoid further certain embarassment in the internation community.