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Wausau Pilot & Review recently reported that there will be a couple of informational meetings regarding the construction of the new water and sewer treatment plants. Every citizen in Wausau should be aware of what these plans entail.
Mind you, they will pull out all stops to sell you on this plan — just as they did with the false traffic reports they used to justify Thomas street.
Wausau’s plan is to borrow another $121 million to build both plants at once. This will double your quarterly water bill.
Keep in mind, the city’s debt has already doubled in the last four years under the current administration and city council, ballooning from $55 to $107 million.
The water and sewer treatment plant plans automatically double that debt again in just one year. That’s pretty poor planning.
As Katie Rosenberg mentioned in the most recent mayoral debate, we are already in a situation where 21.75% of city revenue is going to pay down our debt. To put that in perspective, 12.5% is considered the “norm” for a city, and 17.5% is considered “high.” We’re beyond that.
The current administration will tell you the new debt for these projects isn’t a tax increase doesn’t count as city debt.
Yes, it is.
This is still borrowed money, to be paid back in fee increases.
This raises a few questions. Why is only one plan being offered? Where is the excess revenue from our water bills actually going? Is it going to pay city debt in revenue bonds?
To the city – why are you doing this project all at once instead of in increments as revenue allows, to keep costs down for city users?
What is especially concerning is the impact these fee increases will have on the working poor, seniors living on fixed incomes or others who can’t afford it. Every household in Wausau will be impacted.
You might be asking, what can we do as citizens?
1. Demand that the city come up with some optional plans, something more long term so it is less difficult for taxpayers. Look into renovating until the city is fiscally able to move forward. This administration and council is to into “one hit wonders,” which has cost citizens of Wausau millions in wasted tax dollars.
2. Demand a referendum on this manner. $121 million dollars is an awful lot of money! This is going to affect every household in the city. Every household should have a voice in this action and how their money is being spent. We’ve had school referendums where a lot less money was involved.
3. Get out and vote April 7th. There are too many politicians in City Hall and not enough representatives for the people. Potentially, nine of 11 district seats could change hands. That means your city could finally have a sensible government that once again works for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for clean water and being able to flush the toilet. We need to come up with a sensible plan that works for Wausau, not an “easy out” for the poor planners at City Hall.
Lou Larson, candidate for Wausau City Council Dist. 10