Village opts for 'shock and awe' on laterals
Thiensville will pay 100 percent for repairs
Thiensville - What do Thiensville and Colin Powell have in common? An all-or-nothing approach when it comes to problem solving.
The Committee of the Whole on Monday voted, 6-2, to recommend to the Village Board a policy and funding method which would pay repairs and replacements of private sewer laterals 100 percent via funding from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.
The MMSD money, part of its Private Property Infiltration and Inflow program, is meant to help municipalities like Thiensville identify and fix areas where cracked or broken laterals allow rainwater into the sewer system, oftentimes causing sewage backups into basements. The funding plan, as approved Monday, will use all of the MMSD money to pay for lateral inspections, repairs and replacements in an area the village has identified as the worst infiltration and inflow offender. Village officials did not say where the targeted area is located within the village.
An alternate funding plan created by Trustee John Treffert would have distributed the MMSD dollars differently, having property owners pay $1,000 upfront for repairs or $1,400 for replacement, with the village covering 80 percent of the remaining cost with MMSD funds - similar to a typical insurance deductible and coinsurance setup.
Treffert's take on the MMSD funding would have allowed the village to fund a portion of replacements or repairs in the future when more leaky laterals are found, meaning property owners someday couldn't say others got a "free ride" in the past.
"It would allow the money to be spread further," Treffert said.
Treffert's motion to use his funding method failed, 4-3, with Treffert and trustees Rob Holyoke and Ron Heinritz for it. Village President Van Mobley and trustees Ken Kucharski, Kim Beck and David Lange voted against it.
Both motions included a provision which would deny funding to residents who don't voluntarily agree to have their lateral inspected. Mobley argued the village should fund the lateral projects completely because a free repair or replacement would mean higher participation and, in the end, a better result in improving the sewer system.
He called upon the Powell Doctrine, which in part says the military should use all available resources to decide conflicts as quickly as possible, as justification for using all of the MMSD in part of the village.
"We need to hammer it!" Mobley said.
Lange jokingly referred to the funding method as a "shock and awe" strategy for solving lateral problems.
The lateral work is expected to go on throughout 2013, and residents in that area have been sent an informational packet.
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