REN Action Alert

What: Janesville City Council meeting
Where: Municipal Building, 18 N Jackson, Janesville
When: 7 PM Monday, April 27th

View the Council's agenda materials here.
Make recommendations to the Council by emailing:

Items of concern/questions with tomorrow evenings agenda items:
Pages 58-65 of the full agenda packet

From an email sent to the City Council:

Concerning the "unacceptable water pressure fluctuations" on the NE side of town, requiring a 7.1 Million dollar new water tower... "Independent engineering firms evaluating this problem conclude that additional water storage is presently needed on the City's east side to support existing demands placed on the water distribution system. This will reduce the magnitude of pressure drops during high water demand situations..."

In the agenda is also a request to raise our water rates (by 14.75%), due to a substantial drop in water use due to the closing of GM. If we have lost so much water usage, by losing GM, then why do we need to build a new water tower?

Were the studies sited in the memorandum conducted before, or after GM closed?

Upgrading our pumping system is a route to investigate, before asking the residents of the City to pay 7.1 Million dollars for a water tower, that will also help facilitate the growth of our City into the fertile farmlands on the NE side of town. The increased revenue from higher water bills of $881,361 as outlined in the agenda, could pay for the additional pumping equipment needed to correct this situation, without the land and expense of a water tower.

With an expense of this magnitude, perhaps further investigation could be required by our Council - mainly, gathering specific information from residents that live in the "affected" area of town. In other words, how "unacceptable" is the current situation? Also, with an expense like this - Council should require more citizen input - and delay a decision on this agenda item, until further information and options, if any can be gathered.

The City manager is requesting to apply for a low interest loan for this project, providing interim financing for the "proposed" Water Utility improvements. (see agenda) If we have not yet made a decision on this project, then why would we apply for, and pay interest on a loan? The City should outline information on stimulus funding options prior to a decision.

The Analysis section of the memorandum to Council, needs clarification also. This states that the north pressure zone serves 30,000 people - and includes 17,900 people between the Rock River and the interstate. Council needs further and more detailed information on our water pumping stations - including detailed maps indicating pumping stations, etc. so an educated decision can be made in the best interests of the residents.

The water pressure in the NE area is stated to have been affected 1-3 times in the past 5 years. The examples provided - that residents experienced low water pressure up to 3 times in 5 years, does not call for a 7M expense to taxpayers - especially in the economic state of our City. Residents residing in the red dot areas on the provided map, could be serviced adequately with upgrades to our pumping system - and not an entirely new water tower.

A public study session or open forum should be held by Council before making a decision on this resolution, and delayed until such time, that federal funding options are revealed to residents. The memo also states that this is a "critical situation" - however, this is the first time this issue has surfaced as critical - in searching the Gazette's archives - there are no stories or incidents relating to a critical loss of water pressure.

Concerning the purchase of a new scale for the landfill:

The cost on the accepted bid is $76,602, but the note issue is stated as $90,000. What will the 13,398.00 be used for?

ALSO - in the financial statements from Comptroller Patty Lynch, there is a 300K negative balance in our phase 2 landfill construction account - which will be paid with a general obligation note issue. I would request that Council obtain a complete profit/loss statement from our garbage and recycling operations - so that outside haulers and industrial dumpers, pay fair and equitable costs for landfilling. $21.80 per ton of trash will never cover the costs to clean up the garbage that is being dumped in our landfill.

With an estimated 40 years left at the current site (according to John Whitcomb, operations director) - the Council must act aggressively to preserve this area by reducing garbage to our landfill (which can be achieved by raising tipping fees) aggressively requiring businessses to reduce, reuse and enforce recycling laws, and limit garbage to that which is generated in Rock County.

Other options include banning e-waste, creating re-use areas at the landfill drop zone for building materials, and other items that could be reused, and REQUIRING IDENTIFICATION at the dump hut - and requiring those outside of the City to pay for dumping in our landfill. The residents of the City of Janesville are being asked to fund and eventually clean up our landfill, yet many are allowed to dump, without being required to show proof of residency, or pay a fee.