By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Council awards contract for WWTP
MONROE - The Monroe Common Council awarded a $24.8 million contract for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade project to Miron Construction Company, Inc. of Neenah, on Tuesday.

Miron was also awarded an alternative contract for $31,500, to add rotary lobe pumps for solid or semi-solids.

The motion passed 7-1, with Alderman Michael Boyce voting against. Alderman Brooke Bauman was absent.

The award and contract approval is contingent on the city obtaining financing for the project.

The council vote came just days after the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly passed Senate Bill 10, relating to financial flexibility in the Clean Water Fund and Safe Drinking Water Loan Program. It currently awaits signature by Gov. Scott Walker.

Rep. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, the Assembly lead author on SB10, said if the changes outlined in the bill were not made, Monroe would lose the opportunity to acquire loans from the state to complete the wastewater treatment project.

Among the 20 municipalities that will immediately benefit from the bill changes, "the City of Monroe will benefit most," Marklein said in a telephone interview Tuesday

Monroe will receive a partial loan forgiveness and a below-market interest rate for its wastewater treatment plant upgrade project.

"Monroe will save over $2.5 million under this bill - $500,000 in loan forgiveness and more than $2 million in interest saved," Marklein said.

Marklein said he discovered the current bill was about to expire and took extra effort to talk to legislators to impress upon them the immediacy of the situation.

"Municipalities were in their final stages (of project planning) and it had to get done fast because of the municipalities' timing to get projects done," he added.

Mayor Bill Ross said he was pleased with the fast work of the Legislature, and he credited Jay Kemp of AECOM, the engineering firm overseeing the project, with alerting Marklein to the potential problem.

The bill was introduced in the Senate Feb. 6 and passed Feb. 20. The Assembly passed the bill Feb. 28. SB 10 passed both houses unanimously on a voice vote.

SB10 allows the state to accept federal funding from the Environmental Protection Agency for municipalities to improve water and wastewater systems. This bill authorizes the DNR to use "any method of providing financial assistance" under the Clean Water Fund Program and under the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program.

According to the Legislative Research Bureau, the bill enables the Department of Natural Resources to award funds to eligible municipalities in the form of principal forgiveness. For 2013, a minimum of seven 7 municipalities will receive up to $500,000 in principal forgiveness for clean water fund program projects, and at least 13 municipalities will receive up to $500,000 in principal forgiveness for safe drinking water loan program projects.

Boyce said he voted against awarding the contract after talking with local cheesemakers who questioned the direction the city was going with the project. He also noted one business was seeking to install a waste water pre-treatment system, which would decrease its payments to the utility; personal users were applying low-water usage technology; the recent utility rate increase; and a construction contract that is $1.8 million higher than anticipated for the project.