May 14, 2019
Waukesha — A bill brought forward this week by area legislators could save city of Waukesha residents money in the long run when it comes to the city’s switch to using Lake Michigan water.
According to a news release sent out by state Senator Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee and Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha have joined him in introducing a bill that would authorize the Wisconsin Department of Administration to allow repayment of federal Safe Drinking Water Loans over a maximum of 30 years, instead of the current 20-year maximum.
“Due to recent changes in federal law, the state has the opportunity to grant more flexibility in how it funds water infrastructure projects to the benefit of ratepayers,” said Allen in the release.
The federal Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) helps local governments finance drinking water infrastructure projects needed to meet federal drinking water standards. Waukesha is facing an expensive project to switch from its depleted and naturally contaminated groundwater supply to Lake Michigan water. It is estimated that a change from a 20-year to a 30-year repayment could save the average Waukesha ratepayer up to $56 a year.
“Water infrastructure has a useful life spanning generations. Sharing the costs of these projects over more years lessens the impact on current ratepayers and more fairly allocates costs,” said Neylon.
During the last budget, Kapenga, Neylon and Allen successfully championed a similar provision that extended allowable loan periods to 30 years for wastewater projects. This move was projected to save the average Waukesha ratepayer up to $84 per year.
“Between these two actions, the average Waukesha household water bill will be up to $140 lower per year than if this measure wasn’t passed,” said Kapenga. “This is a way to help lessen the impact of switching to Lake Michigan water.”