The Whitewater Common Council met at the municipal building last Tuesday to discuss the problems plaguing the city’s underground systems.
Councilmember Cameron Clapper opened the meeting by informing the public of a city-wide smoke test of Whitewater’s sewer system that will begin Sept. 23. The test is being conducted in an effort to find illegal clear water connections and breaks in the line that pose a hazard to the system.
Citizens may notice smoke escaping from unused drains in their homes or even from their yards. Civilians are encouraged to pour water down seldom-used drains to alleviate possible smoke expulsion.
Councilmember Jim Winship made a point of noting that families with homes using plumbing systems in violation of the law will not be fined egregious amounts by the city. However, councilmember Lynn Biente claimed those that did not cooperate with the city to fix problems in his or her lines could face fines.
A water conservation solution was passed as well that will cost the city $500 a year. A professor from Marquette University discussed the H2O Score program he established in Waukesha. The program allowed citizens to regulate their water usage via an online dashboard, encouraging water conservation.
H2O Score will be implemented in Whitewater, and those that reduce their water consumption will be given rewards to use at local businesses including Hawk Bowl and restaurants. The board believes allowing citizens to track their water conservation through a next generation dashboard will lead to a lower water cost for the city overall.
The council also passed a motion to request a quote from a company to repair the city’s storm water drains. Certain drains and streets in Whitewater were laid out wrong in their construction, resulting in excess storm water that causes flooding.
The council agreed that stencils saying “Do Not Dump, Drains to Lake” should be placed by every drain to encourage citizens to keep the drains clear of obstruction. The city also needs high-quality cameras to run down certain drains to identify any problems in the lines.
A myriad of other items were debated during the common council meeting, including:
- The 2014 city budget. Clapper went over a lengthy PowerPoint presentation that covered Whitewater’s budget in the upcoming fiscal year and what the city was planning on doing with the funds they’ll have.
- The 2013 financial trend analysis. The council went over how Whitewater spent its money in 2013 and where the city is at financially in comparison to previous years. The general conclusion was that Whitewater is in good financial shape.
- An energy efficiency contract. The city passed a motion to hire a firm to examine what projects Whitewater will be implementing over the next year and suggest ways to save energy. The cost will be minimal for the city, as the firm is paid by taking a percentage of the money Whitewater saves over the year.
- Extending the hours of operation of public transportation. The council passed a proposal to have public transportation running until 9 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. and for there to be three drivers instead of just two. These changes would only be in effect over the school year and would only cost tax payers anywhere up to $1,200.
- The Discover Whitewater Series Race. Stephanie Abbott discussed the Whitewater half-marathon taking place on Sunday. A total of 479 runners as of Tuesday’s meeting along with 67 sponsors were scheduled to participate. The city is partnered with five reputable charities in an effort to raise money for a good cause and get Whitewater’s name recognized. The half-marathon will hopefully become an annual event, Abbott said.
- The elimination of specific parking regulations. The council passed a motion to eliminate four parking spot regulations in the city that only existed for businesses that have since closed down.
The meeting concluded late Tuesday evening. The Whitewater Common Council meets every Tuesday night to discuss matters regarding the city. The meetings are open to the public.