Closed-session discussion will precede vote in open meeting

Waukesha Freeman
Dec 2, 2017
Hannah Weikel, Freeman Staff

Waukesha — The Waukesha Water Utility’s plan to obtain Great Lakes water will face its last test from a municipal body on Tuesday during a Waukesha Common Council meeting. Aldermen will start discussions in closed session while they meet with an attorney to go over the water contract between Milwaukee and Waukesha.

Residents can provide comments at the outset of the meeting before the 14 city aldermen vote on the deal, which has already gained approval from elected officials in Milwaukee. After meeting in closed session to review stipulations in the contract, aldermen can speak about it on public record before they vote.

Council members have met in closed session many times to discuss negotiations with Milwaukee Water Works after the group submitted an unsolicited proposal in May, but they have not yet discussed it publicly at a full council meeting.

During Milwaukee’s Common Council meeting on Nov. 28, that city’s aldermen didn’t discuss the contract at all before approving it 14 to 1. Waukesha’s Water Commission and Milwaukee’s Steering and Licensing Committee both approved the contract unanimously.

The entire water diversion project is expected to cost $286 million, about $40 million less than if Waukesha had tapped Oak Creek. Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak held a press conference in late October with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and Waukesha Common Council President Aaron Perry to announce the intent to purchase Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee.

Duchniak and the Great Water Alliance — the public relations group at the front of Waukesha’s efforts to obtain Lake Michigan water — held three open houses this week at Waukesha high schools, allowing residents and ratepayers to ask questions and air their comments and concerns.

Other items on agenda

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Waukesha Public Library’s new director, Bruce Gay, will be introduced. He started work at the library this week, taking over for interim directorJohn Klima, who has returned to his former assistant director post.

Aldermen will also consider the approval of two “dark store” settlements with Target and Farm and Fleet.

Sixth Aldermanic District candidate Jack Wells will be called up at the end of the meeting for an interview and possible appointment. He introduced himself at a council meeting last month.

The council will convene at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 201 Delafield St. Also next week, an ad hoc Downtown Parking Committee will meet to review and discuss parking restrictions and regulations in city lots, parking ramps and street parking spaces.

The ad hoc committee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday in room 207 at City Hall.

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