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Great Lakes Article:

Fee proposed for outside customers wishing to join Water Authority system
By Peter Rebhahn
The Green Bay Press-Gazette

ASHWAUBENON - Water customers outside a consortium of Green Bay suburbs would pay an additional fee to join the suburbs’ water system under a plan discussed Wednesday.

The so-called development fee would be paid by residents and businesses who request water service from a member community of the Central Brown County Water Authority.

"It’s not something to penalize; it’s to recover costs we’ve already incurred," said authority President Len Teresinski.

The fee would be relatively small, ranging from $50 to a high of $250, and based upon the size of water service demanded.

The Water Authority communities are Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, De Pere, Hobart, Howard, Lawrence and Ledgeview.

The proposed development fee is the second fee proposed by the authority, which plans to serve residents of its member communities with Lake Michigan drinking water in coming years, either via a suburbs-only pipeline or a purchase agreement with the city of Green Bay.

The Water Authority communities will sign a members-agreement, perhaps as soon as September, that will bind them to a minimum annual water purchase from the authority regardless of whether the authority signs a deal with Green Bay or opts for its own pipeline.

The two proposed fees are among other requirements of the complicated members-agreement, which was drafted in 2000 but never approved by the authority’s communities. One option under long discussion was a one-time connection fee of at least several hundred dollars for each new water customer hooking up to any member community’s water system regardless of the customer’s location.

The connection fee would likely be paid at the time a home owner, developer or builder requests a building permit. Its purpose would be to force future water customers to pay for the cost of system capacity that must be built today and paid for by today’s ratepayers.

The second fee, the development fee, addresses a second inequity built into the proposed members-agreement - how to get future users who join the authority’s water system from outside authority communities to shoulder some of the planning costs that residents in member communities have borne to make a lake-water system a reality.

Brown County Planner and authority consultant Mike Parmentier said the water authority and its predecessor have spent about $1.5 million since 1989, the year Brown County’s suburbs got serious about a long-term solution for a dwindling supply of low-quality groundwater.

That money has come from taxpayers in the Water Authority communities in the form of annual operating dues paid by each community.

The authority plans to modify a term in its draft members-agreement that virtually prohibits a member community from selling water to residents or businesses outside its or another member's boundaries, forcing the need for some sort of fee.

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