At last Monday’s Water Commission meeting, it was unanimously approved to increase the rate for water usage for Kenosha residents. The percentage increase in water rates is not known at this time. The water rate increase is expected to generate from $1 million to $1.4 million in additional revenue. Storm water utility manager Ed St. Peter said that it’s up to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to determine the rate. St. Peter said the review can take from six to nine months. Final approval is not expected until after the beginning of the year, possibly in the spring.
Along with the water rate increase, a reduced operating budget for the Kenosha Water Utility was also unanimously approved by the commissioners. The operating budget for the utility is estimated at $24.4 million for 2013, down almost $600,000, which represents a 2.3% decrease. The utility will stay at 83 employees for 2013.
At last night’s Common Council meeting, a resolution sponsored by Alderperson Kevin Mathewson urging the Kenosha Water Utility’s Board of Water Commissioners to refrain from a rate increase for 2013 failed. The vote was 2 to 12. The two voting for it were Mathewson and Alderperson David Bogdala. Two alderpersons abstained from the vote; they were Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo and Steve Bostrom (both members of the Board of Water Commissioners).
Mathewson said that he met with Ed St. Peter, the general manager of Kenosha’s water utility, who told him that the reason for the increase was to expand and enhance the infrastructure, the underground pipes. Mathewson said that he “thought this was a good idea, just the wrong time.” Mathewson said that, in his meeting with St. Peter, that he was led to believe that the water rate increase was not essential to provide the same service.
At this afternoon’s Kenosha Board of Water Commissioners meeting, the commission voted to apply to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) for a water rate adjustment. The current authorized rateof return is 6%. There has not been a full water rate adjustment for the water system since 2004. There were cost-of-living adjustments in 2008 and 2009.
The rate of return for the water system for 2011 was 2.64%, and the bond coverage was 2.11. These numbers indicate that the water system is in need of an overall water rate adjustment.
A water main break on 75th Street at Pershing Boulevard in Kenosha this morning at about 4 a.m. disrupted traffic flow in the area and flooded the street with water.
The break took about 2 hours to turn off. Traffic was narrowed down to one lane east and west on 75th Street. Pershing traffic southbound was shut down as was traffic out of Pershing Plaza.
At about 5:51 p.m, a Kenosha police officer was dispatched to check on a possible water main break at 63rd Street and 35th Avenue.
Dispatcher said roadway was covered in water.
UPDATE 6:06 p.m. — Officer on scene confirms large amount of water and is investigating. Two flatbed tow trucks being called.
At about 4:20 p.m., a Kenosha Police officer is confirming what apepars to be a water main break in the area of 35th Place and 19th Avenue.
Water Utility crews are being called to the area.
At about 11:30 a.m., Kenosha police are investigating a report of a water main break at 26th Avenue and 24th Street. Dispatch says the break was reported by a resident and the district’s alderman.
UPDATE 11:37 a.m. — Police officer on scene reports that break is “a good one.” Water utility crew is on the scene.