Authority to interview firms to manage project
By Peter Rebhahn
Green Bay Press Gazette
A project to bring Lake Michigan drinking water from
the city of Manitowoc to six Brown County communities
will be run by a consulting firm and not an administrator
- at least to start.
"It’s very difficult to try to hire qualified staff
and not be able to tell them they’re going to be around
for a while," said Hugh Thomas, administrator of
the village of Howard and chairman of the Central Brown
County Water Authority’s Administrative Committee.
Thomas’ committee will begin interviews next week with
some of the seven private firms that have expressed interest
in managing the Water Authority’s project for an undetermined
Howard and the five other Water Authority communities
- Allouez, Bellevue, De Pere, Lawrence and Ledgeview -
announced a deal in February to buy drinking water from
The deal commits the Water Authority to $118 million
in construction needed to pipe water 30 miles from Manitowoc’s
water treatment plant on the Lake Michigan shoreline and
distribute it to the six member communities.
The Water Authority’s contract with Manitowoc is a work
in progress and may include services ordinarily performed
by a full-time administrator. The authority had planned
to hire such a person when it voted in 1999 to bring Lake
Michigan water to residents via its own independent lake
"One of the issues we’re facing is we’re still in
contract negotiations with Manitowoc," said Larry
Delo, city of De Pere administrator and a member of the
Water Authority’s Administrative Committee. "So we
have to go through that entire process to see what the
workload is going to be."
The candidate firms responded to the Water Authority’s
public request for proposals. Thomas said he expects to
narrow the list of seven to two or three for review by
the full Water Authority within three weeks.
The firm the Water Authority hires will take over the
administrative duties now performed chiefly by De Pere
Public Works Director Roy Simonson, current Water Authority
Thomas said the Water Authority may have a permanent
administrator someday, but uncertainty about the precise
terms of the Water Authority’s eventual contract with
Manitowoc makes filling the position now problematic.
"We couldn’t tell them whether we’re hiring them
for six months or three years or forever," Thomas