talks coming down to the wire
Green Bay News-Chronicle
In a matter that seems to have more to do with politics
and politicians than in what's best for local taxpayers,
the De Pere City Council briefly discussed Tuesday the
shaky future of water talks with the city of Green Bay.
De Pere is part of the Central Brown County Water Authority
- a group of suburbs that is hoping to buy water from
Green Bay as local wells become inadequate.
Talks have been going on for more than two years and
seem to have come to a standstill. Green Bay leaders apparently
are worried the city either will end up spending more
than it should to help build a second pipe line to Lake
Michigan, or that the suburbs won't pay enough for water.
The city has given the suburbs until Monday to come up
with a final proposal. City officials also are looking
at doing construction on Green Bay's current pipe rather
than building a second pipeline.
The distrust on the parts of the city and suburbs seems
to stem from a decision the suburbs made 50 years ago,
when they were much more rural, not to join with Green
Bay in building a first pipeline to Lake Michigan. Green
Bay officials still seem bitter about the suburbs' lack
of commitment at that time, and worried the suburbs are
changing their tune now because they have no choice.
Some leaders in the suburbs, for their part, have hinted
Green Bay is being selfish and unfair.
Green Bay is putting out bids for work, but suburban
leaders say it still is possible Green Bay could work
out an agreement with the Water Authority.
The Water Authority has asked the state Public Service
Commission to step in and review both Green Bay's and
the Authority's positions and to make a recommendation.
Green Bay leaders have condemned the PSC's involvement.
The De Pere City Council is expected to vote on whether
or not to participate in an agreement in early September.
Leaders warn that whether the suburbs buy water from
Green Bay or build their own pipe, residents can expect
to pay more for water.
In other action, the council voted in favor of a second
reading of an amendment to a zoning ordinance that would
allow churches to be built in business districts. The
change must go through three readings before it is officially
on the books. Alds. Donald Thyes and Mike Fleck voted
against the measure.
The council is making the change after New Life Christian
Fellowship threatened to take the city to court for religious
discrimination. New Life is moving into the former Steckert's
building on Wisconsin Street.