Saturday, September 21, 2013

Under Dan Warren, Waukesha Water Utility Has Spent Big On Draft Water Plan

I posted some numbers on Friday about the escalating estimated cost of hooking up the City of Waukesha Water Utility to Lake Michigan water - - $78 million when the water utility was drafting the diversion application in 2009 to a $183 million estimate more recently disclosed by utility officials.

The utility says it is the final stages of preparing its delayed, much-revised application draft for delivery to Wisconsin reviewers at the DNR; additional reviews and hearings are on tap for the application in seven Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces if the DNR decides the application is ready for prime time.

To reach this point, the utility has, for years, spent heavily on application technical consultants, on public relations experts and lobbyists both in Wisconsin and in Washington, DC, and lawyers.

Along with utility staff time, the administrative costs associated with the application are surely past the $1 million mark - - the meter has been running for years - -  and more expenses, including possible litigation, will be incurred as the application moves along.

The president of the utility as it has become absorbed in the application is Dan Warren, a pivotal figure in Waukesha-area public and private-sector concerns.

Warren has served on the water utility commission for more than 20 years; he was instrumental in bringing on Dan Duchniak - - the second of Waukesha's 'two Dans' who've been honchoing the diversion strategy - - as utility general manager.

Warren's current term - -  and perhaps his last, observers said last week - - expires at the end of this month, which would coincide with the application's final draft delivery to the DNR.

Warren also sits on the Waukesha school district board, and is project manager at Pabst Farms, the western Waukesha County planned community built on open space between I-94 and downtown Oconomowoc but which has not lived up to some initial expectations.

The State of Wisconsin did expand access to Pabst Farms by fast-tracking the construction of a "full-diamond" interstate interchange for the development, in part to deliver customers to a long-promised regional-destination retail mall that was never got built.

One dispute over the retail development at Pabst Farms recently led to litigation between Pabst Farms  and the City of Oconomwoc; neither Pabst Farms or the water diversion plan - - both big projects with lots of moving pieces and hurdles - - have exactly enjoyed smooth sailing these past few years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By Administrative costs are you referring to State expenses?

John Marek, new Town of Waukesha chairman claimed during his campaign, "The City has spent 8 years and 2.8 million dollars on the diversion application,..."

That's nearly 3 million that could have been spent on a treatment plant and a radium filtration system.

The Waukesha Common Council has been misled,once again, about the self imposed new timeline, now 3 months behind and counting. Are we about to see a conclusion to the application quest?

Does Waukesha's Common Council care if the city's image is battered and that's what water rate increases are paying for? Waukesha's reputation and property values are related directly to the continued image of Waukesha's water being contaminated with a "carcinogen". If the application is withdrawn or fails wtf does the pr firm care what Waukesha's image is? They'll offer a new contract to do damage control and image repair.

Funny though, Waukesha Water Utility's water quality statement says it's safe to drink.

At some point the red ball noses and oversized shoes need to come off. The direction of Waukesha needs to change and the new candidates for Mayor of Waukesha are fools for supporting Larry Nelson's and Dan Warren's decision to pursue Lake Michigan water.

Wake up Bozos.