RACINE — The City Council will have the opportunity to ditch some of the city’s financial burden associated with the construction of the Foxconn Technology Group plant by passing the cost of two water mains to the Village of Mount Pleasant.
If the council votes in favor of the amendment and Mount Pleasant accepts the cost, the village will have pay approximately $8.6 million for the water mains.
In 2004, the City of Racine and Mount Pleasant entered the Intergovernmental Retail Water Service Agreement, which places the responsibility of providing retail water service to the greater Racine area on the Racine Water Utility. An amendment to the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Finance and Personnel Committee on Monday, will relieve the Water Utility’s responsibility in this situation, pending City Council approval.
The first main is planned to run from Highway 20 to Highway 11. The second will start at the future Wisconn Valley Way and end near Highway 31, according to Keith Haas, general manager of the Racine Water Utility.
If approved, this will be the second amendment to the Intergovernmental Retail Water Service Agreement in the past seven months. The first came in December, when two other water mains were approved along the I-94 frontage road and Highway H in Mount Pleasant, a $7 million project, again charged entirely to the village.
Besides the mains themselves, the amendment calls for supplementary tank storage and the addition and upgrade of booster pumping stations.
According to the amendment, “certain water utility infrastructure must be substantially completed” before Dec. 1.
The city’s Waterworks Commission voted in favor of the amendment on May 29. The City Council recommended in favor of the amendment too, despite contention from five of the 14 aldermen present at the June 5 meeting, including 3rd District Alderman John Tate II.
“Although we don’t represent them as the City of Racine, this is an inter-municipal agreement. So what they do essentially falls back on us,” Tate said at the June 5 meeting, in light of Mount Pleasant’s decision to declare the entire Foxconn area blighted. “We have to, in some ways, be in agreement with what is done in the Village of Mount Pleasant.”
City Council President Jason Meekma voted against the amendment on June 5, but approved it without contest as part of the Finance and Personnel Committee meeting on Monday.
“Things move so fast in City Hall, sometimes you get behind and you need to have a little bit more time to get more information,” Meekma said. “Some aldermen made some points that night (at the June 5 City Council meeting) that rose my interest level to learn a little bit more. It’s a good thing to move forward and I’m looking forward to the next step.”