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Project add-ons approved
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MONROE - The Monroe Board of Public Works voted unanimously Monday to recommend to City Council additions to equipment that monitors the city's water system.

The Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system consists of a central terminal unit at the Water House and eight remote terminal units - one at each well, tower and booster station.

Monitoring, operation and control of the city water system is carried out at the central unit.

If approved, additions would cost the city $9,438 more than initially approved.

The additions are an emergency mode sequence that could activate well backup generators in the event of a citywide power failure.

Water Department Supervisor Mike Kennison said the changes were "out of the scope of the original contract," awarded to Siemens Water Technologies Corporation in the amount of $389,737.

The project is partly funded by a Wisconsin Department of Commerce grant, which funds 14 percent of construction costs.

The extra items could be added at any time, Kennison said, but adding them now would be helped by grant funding. The grant would cover $1,536 of the $10,975 cost, leaving the city to pay $9,438.

"We've got the money for it," Kennison said.

Just because the money is there doesn't mean it was an easy sell to aldermen.

"I'm concerned that all of a sudden we have this extra stuff coming in. We have a tight budget as it is," Alderman Chuck Schuringa said. "Every one of us has to answer to our people."

Alderman Mark Coplien, vice president of the board, made the motion for the approval, "to get the system up and running that we agreed on."

After the vote, Schuringa expanded on his change of tactics for approving additional spending by departments.

"Everybody thinks I'm kind of quiet. But as of now, I'm going to be a thorn in the side of a lot of department heads," Schuringa said.

"I don't like this rubber stamping - just because sombody's saying we have the money. We have to regulate our money. We are trusted by the people of our wards; we have to come up with answers," Schuringa continued. "Believe me, I sit and listen - for a long time. Now, I will be in asking questions of department heads more than before."

Interviewed after the meeting, Schuringa said he was "getting tired of it."

"We sit here and department heads say, 'I recommend this,' and we take their word for it," Schuringa said. "Then, all of the sudden (they say) 'we weren't aware,'" he said.

Alderman Thurston Hanson said he agreed with Schuringa.

At a factory acceptance test prior to installation for the city, Kennison observed a working control system at the manufacturing plant and identified the additions as beneficial.

Some of the SCADA system hardware has been delivered and is stored in the city. The remaining system pieces are awaiting additional programming in the event the City Council approves the additions and the extra costs Tuesday night.

The resolution calls for a roll call vote.