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Great Lakes Article:

Water deal done - for now
The proposal to sell Green Bay's water to the suburbs is ready to send to municipalities
Ray Barrington
The Green Bay News-Chronicle


Call it "the six-million-dollar main."

That amount was the final piece in the agreement the Central Brown County Water Authority will send to its member communities.

The agreement to buy water from the city of Green Bay must be voted on by the nine communities in the authority; depending on meeting schedules, voting could be completed by mid-January, suggested authority chairman Len Teresinski.

Mayor Paul Jadin of Green Bay spoke to the authority to open the meeting, using football terms to tell members "they are in the red zone" and "if you call the right play, we could be in the end zone."

Just more than an hour later, eight representatives (the town of Lawrence was not present) voted to agree on the proposal.

The final piece was Green Bay's agreement to pay $6 million up front for costs related to connecting its system to the authority's to-be-built system, which would use aquifer storage retrieval to store the water for the communities.

The payment was one of nine options the committee faced after agreeing to the main proposal. Jadin, who left after making his statement, was called by Teresinski during the meeting and assented to the authority's decision to take the $6 million.

The authority will pay Green Bay's lowest water rate - this year it's $1.23 per 1,000 gallons, the same amount paid by the city's top customers - until 2024, when rate setting will be taken over by the Public Service Commission.

The one concern is some municipalities may decide not to go in on the plan.

"I would be disappointed if this (happened)," Jadin said. "It would be no different than if you said you liked all the terms except one. It's a glitch we'd have to resolve."

For Ashwaubenon President Ted Pamperin, the decision ended three years of discussions, a term extended when Ashwaubenon went against building a separate pipeline from Lake Michigan to feed the authority's lines.

"It's a great step forward for all of Brown County," he said. "All we wanted to do was keep the talks open. We couldn't see the efficiency of having two pipelines to Lake Michigan."

Pamperin suggested the shared water could assist all communities. "If you look at economic development, all of us are at the same level from a water standpoint," he said.

The next step will be the drawing up of a formal agreement to be approved by each municipality, complete with estimated costs. The authority will pay the per-gallon costs, then charge each municipality. The municipalities will then charge consumers based on their needs.

"This is going to be one of the better utilities in Wisconsin," Teresinski said. "It's a real example of how shared services do work."

The nine members of the authority are Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, De Pere, Hobart, Howard, Lawrence, Ledgeview and Scott.

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