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$500K Fix Proposed to Keep Downtown Streets Lights On

Dark streets lasted for days, and now money is being requested to permanently fix the issue.

The streetlights in downtown Waukesha were out for more than a week, and a permanent fix could cost the city $500,000.

The Waukesha Police Department found the lights out in downtown at 2:30 a.m. Feb. 6. While power was restored to the majority of the area, these streets were left in the dark until Feb. 15:

  • Clinton Street between Main Street and Wisconsin Avenue
  • Main Street between Clinton Street and West Broadway
  • West Broadway between Madison/Clinton and Wisconsin Avenue
  • South Street between Main Street and Broadway
  • Parking lot 4

The city worked with WE Energies to replace a 40-year-old transformer in the area, but it appears that won’t be enough in the future. The Finance Committee will take up a $500,000 emergency funding request to upgrade the lighting system in downtown Waukesha.

“The viability of our downtown depends on our citizens feeling safe about walking and driving around the downtown area,” states a city memo. “Citizens must feel safe about parking their cars on streets and walking to businesses at night. The street light system (wiring, conduits, pull boxes and transformers) in the downtown is very old and in disrepair. Unfortunately we may experience similar incidents in the future if we do not take corrective actions.  The entire system must be upgraded to minimize future failures.”

Mr Lundt February 23, 2013 at 05:15 PM
clearthinker is on it. As we have seen---politicians love to kick the can down the road.
justwant2comment February 24, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Most taxpayers probably don't realize that infrastructure maintenance is being deferred (unless they open their eyes or hit a pothole) because it's keeping their taxes low at all costs, and most are not going to complain about that! Of course, politicians are limited to how much they can raise taxes, so they don't have a choice sometimes to defer what has probably been deferred too many times already. It's a vicious circle, but the longer we defer maintenance of our aging infrastructure, the more costly it will be in the future. Taxes are going to have increase at a higher rate at some point, we cannot keep going at -1, 0 or +1% every year, just to make our politicians look good and keep themselves in office, things cost more than that even with budget trimming, and that's not even taking inflation costs into consideration. Everyone wants government to run like a business, well, most businesses could not survive operating this way, why should taxpayers expect the government to? And this is from someone who is in the higher income tax bracket and owns a home, so beleive me, I don't want to pay more taxes either, but we also have to face reality. If we've gotten to the point where we can't cut much more and still function, I think it's ok to raise taxes to pay for some of these necessary costs, as we all know, nothing gets cheaper over time and maintenance has to be able to keep up with use.
Mr Lundt February 24, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Few disagree with you JWTC The issue is that much of government is saddled with fat and waste. They seem to ignore cutting that at the expense of infrastructure.
Lynn Vander Meer February 25, 2013 at 10:14 PM
No, insurance won't pay for a new furnace, but a house warranty would. I wouldn't be without a house warranty. Covers all sorts of things: water heater, major appliances, plumbing, electrical and yes, HVAC. It's a little pricey at $600/yr but if something needs fixing for a $50 service fee it is either repaired or replaced. There are companies you can buy water and sewerline insurance also and that's like $6.50/mo.... although I do agree with you that this is a budget item for the city and should be kept in a rolling account. Waukesha is not known for planning ahead. It's just easier to stick their hand out looking for "grant money", which is tax money ultimately also.
Lynn Vander Meer February 25, 2013 at 10:20 PM
The technology exists to use electricity AND solar lighting to illuminate our streets. This will require a capital outlay initially but there is no reason why some enterprising citizen and their small business couldn't make this work and create JOBS. It's something every city needs, and it's already on a lightpole.

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