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Most expensive water rates in the state: The fight for Pulaski's pipeline

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 09, 2024

The villages of Pulaski and Howard with the town of Pittsfield met with the state Public Service Commission Tuesday to discuss Pulaski's plan to pump water from Lake Michigan.

  • See where Pulaski plans to build a pipeline from Hobart to take the village off of well water
  • The village of Howard is against Pulaski's current plan to go through Hobart, so they brought the issue to the state
  • The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is set to make a decision in September

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

Pulaski brings their case for a water pipeline before the state. I'm your Pulaski neighborhood reporter Pari Apostolakos. I sat in on the state Public Service Commission hearing, where not everyone backed the project.

To pump water to Pulaski, the state first needs to approve the plan.

An engineer representing the village says it'll cost more than $15 million.

"I stand by what our accounting firm found," Pulaski Village President Keith Chambers said during the virtual hearing.

Chambers has told me without a pipeline the village may not have enough water in case of an emergency. He wants to pump water from Lake Michigan through the Green Bay Water Utility using a hook-up in Hobart.

But the village of Howard is against the plan.

They want Pulaski to hook up to Howard's water supply through the Central Brown County Water Authority.

They say Pulaski's accountants are wrong and going through Howard would be cheaper.

"If the project is approved under the estimate that was provided, it would lead to a 228% increase in rates and make the Pulaski water rates the most expensive rates in the state of Wisconsin," Eric Callisto, attorney for the village of Howard, said.

But Pulaski's pipeline wasn't the only issue discussed at the hearing.

Howard bought property in Pittsfield as part of a plan to annex the southern portion of the town over the next few decades.

Now, they want to run water to it.

Howard village administrator Paul Evert said the Wisconsin Department of Administration found the annexation would be "In the public interest."

"Howard can provide all needed municipal services to those properties," Evert said over Zoom at the hearing.

Pittsfield has called Howard's annexation plans "Aggressive."

"Howard will not involuntarily annex any Pittsfield property into Howard," Evert said.

Pittsfield Town Chairperson Keith Deneys says the fear of annexation is why Pittsfield would consider hooking up to Pulaski's pipeline. Deneys says Pittsfield residents may have to pay for part of the construction, and some people there who submitted statements to the hearing say they don't want it if they have to pay.

"Is there anybody other than town of Pittsfield residents who you believe you could recover the cost of those debts from?" Callisto asked Deneys during Tuesday's hearing.

"No sir," Deneys said.

Pulaski Village President Keith Chambers denied my request for an interview Tuesday, saying his comments would be premature before the commission issues their decision in September. In Pulaski Pari Apostolakos NBC 26.