New offer from city on water deal
Both the city and suburbs call it 'significant'
By Ray Barrington
The Green Bay News-Chronicle
A meeting of elected officials in the municipalities
served by the Central Brown County Water Authority was
overshadowed Thursday night by a new proposal from Green
Bay in its continuing bid to sell water to the suburbs.
Neither Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt or authority president
Len Teresinski wanted to go into detail about the new
offer, proposed earlier in the day. But both said it was
a notable move. It was described as a modification of
the "contributed capital" option, one more favorable
to the suburbs.
"It's a significant new opportunity," Schmitt
It will have to survive scrutiny from the lawyers on
both sides, however, before either man would comment about
"It's a significant change from the contributed
capital. It's a change, but is it a good one?" said
The authority will discuss the matter in a closed meeting
on Monday. The move came hours before officials from the
eight communities the authority represents met to get
an update on the water plans.
They heard from authority board members about the options
they had and the timetable to make decisions. It was the
first of two meetings, with this one providing background
and a second one, possibly on July 30, providing actual
numbers on what the options will cost.
Teresinski promised a recommendation on the best option
at that meeting. "We appreciate your patience, and
we're coming to the 11th hour when we give you our proposal,"
Pressed by Tim Green of Bellevue, Teresinski cited the
complexity of putting together a deal. He added that with
deadlines looming, the numbers would have to be available
at the next meeting.
"I guarantee you we will have that," he said.
"It has to be done."
In a presentation to the board members and presidents
of the municipalities, the authority went over what will
be needed for a supply of water from Lake Michigan to
replace a dwindling, radium-riddled aquifer.
If the authority buys water from Green Bay, for example,
four contracts may need to be signed: a contract for the
possible use of aquifer storage and recovery (underground
water storage), a backup option in which water goes directly
to the authority, a possible interim contract with Green
Bay for a short-term water sale to overcome 2006 radium
compliance deadlines, and a member purchase agreement.
The agreement would cover the sale of water from the authority
to the member communities. Each community would pay the
same rate for water, although individual communities would
charge their users different amounts based on each municipality's
The authority also talked about its options with Green
Bay, including who would pay for the building of the pipeline.
Under the contributed capital option, the authority would
bond for and give to Green Bay what it would need to expand
its system, paying for water, operating costs and depreciation.
This is the proposal that Green Bay modified Wednesday.
Another modified option, offered by the water authority
last week, would have it build a new intake and help build
a larger pipeline, take raw water, and send it to its
own treatment plant. A third would see both sides share
costs and ownership. And a fourth option is for the authority
to build its own pipeline to the lake.
Also discussed were the deadlines. The authority wants
a decision on a Green Bay agreement by Aug. 1 to have
time for the communities to discuss and vote on approval.
Approval would be needed by Sept. 14, a day before Green
Bay would accept bids on a new pipeline to the lake. The
size of the pipeline depends on what option is chosen.
Rich Heidl of Hobart asked who would be the overseer
of any deal. "Who keeps the water authority honest?"
De Pere's Ron Simonson said the control over the authority
was the membership of the communities.
Steve Bach of Hobart asked about what would happen if
the 2006 radium deadlines were missed. Teresinski said
the issue was being discussed with the state Departmentof
Natural Resources, with the authority trying to get a
small delay to be able to complete the system.