Shorewood Village Board Meeting on Sewage Backups --- Proposed Action Plan Misses the Mark

Sewage Backup, Shorewood, Government Priorities, Whitefish Bay Board and Village Manager Performance, Shorewood Village Board and Village Manager Performance, Village Action Plan Misses the Mark

The Shorewood Village Board had a special meeting regarding the recent sewage backups and flooding.

The meeting was started off with a comment that there was a newspaper article from 1954 that was on the topic of flooding in Shorewood, and what could or should be done about it.

Ironically, the current Village Board Members and Village Administration want to dis-own  responsiblity for not addressing the sewage and flooding issues more aggressively, as they were not in office 10 years ago when the last engineering study was done.  Could it be that when they ran for office, they were ignorant of the sewage and flooding issue?

The consensus of the Board and Administration can be distilled to 1) Doing more studies.  2) Surveying the residents as to whether they have had problems. 3) Establish a level of protection that the village residents can live with.  4) Hiring an engineering firm to conduct studies and surveys and make recommendations (note same engineering firm that has been working on this issue for about the last decade) 5) Hire another engineering firm to look over the shoulder of the first engineering firm.  6) The usual contacting MMSD, other communities, the county, the state, yada, yada, yada. 7) Have the sewage district borrow some money from the general fund and repay it over a period of time.

All of the above are nice things to do --- but in my opinion they have widely missed the mark on the direction they are going in.

A) Part of the proposal is to establish what level of protection the Village Residents are willing to live with.

What kind of question is that?  People have RAW SEWAGE coming INTO their HOMES! 

The correct answer to the Level of Protection is ZERO TOLERANCE FOR SEWAGE COMING INTO HOMES. 

If the Village Officials do not know that we want NO SEWAGE in our homes --- I have to question their common sense and concern for the safety and health of our citizens.

B) So now we are doing another engineering study --- ad nauseum --- to identify the problems.

MMSD has been telling us for years that the Three Main Problems with the Flooding and Sewage Backups are 1) Laterals   2) Laterals   3) Laterals

Broken laterals add to the water going into the sewage system, and they are the means by which sewage backs up into people's homes.

Old School and present practice is that the sewer system is run by the village, but the laterals are privately owned and the responsibility of the property owner.  The problem with this old way of doing things is that homeowners do not have the expertise or resources to identify problems with the laterals, or to install backflow preventers that keep sewage out.

Especially in an older community like Shorewood, virtually all the laterals are the old fashion red clay sewer pipes --- which over the years crack, crumble, and get infiltrated by tree roots.  If you have ever had to call Roto Rooter to come clean out your sewer pipe, you probably have a broken lateral !!!!!

We need a new system, under which the Village takes ownership of the entire sewer system, including the laterals.

C: Money - Money - Money

The Village Sewer District does not collect enough money to be maintained properly.  Just recently the Village Board had to divert money from the Parking District to the sewer District for lack of funds.  (Now the Parking District is short changed for lot snow removal and maintenance).

It was proposed that some money be borrowed from the General Fund, and repaid over time as noted above.

The usual suspects for possibly obtaining grants will be pursued harder --- MMSD, State, Federal, etc.

This however is a Major Problem that needs Major Money.

Sewage coming into homes make property values drop.  So it only makes sense to create a TIF that will pay for the actions that need to be taken for both the general system and the individual laterals. 

The purpose of a TIF is to create something that will increase property values --- as a Real Estate Broker, in my opinion, keeping sewage out of Shorewood houses will increase their value --- Big Time!!

In my previous posting, I mentioned that the Whitefish Bay Government was not perceived to be handling this problem very well, and at their meeting on sewers, pushed the topic off to the side for more studies.  It now appears Shorewood is doing the same.

I encourage both Villages to work together -- as we are joined at the hip ......





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