State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
I must admit I was taken aback when I read the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel that Milwaukee is negotiating with New Berlin to sell Milwaukee water. The price tag would be hefty $1.5 million one time fee in addition to actual costs.
During the lengthy deliberations about the Great Lakes Compact, I made it clear that despite my reservations, I supported an effective document that was good for the Great Lakes, the state of Wisconsin, and would preserve our greatest natural resource.
Time and time again, I heard Compact proponents make the case that the Compact would address the water needs of New Berlin. The conventional wisdom was that the Compact needed to be approved quickly, and if it was, New Berlin’s water woes would be taken care of. Making those arguments were city of Milwaukee officials from Mayor Tom Barrett on down. They claimed the city of Milwaukee would no longer have issues with New Berlin getting water if Wisconsin would simply okay the Compact.
It seems that isn’t the case. Wisconsin has approved the Compact, but for the city of Milwaukee, on this critical public health issue, it’s still business as usual, imposing a hefty price tag for a community in desperate need of water. For the city of Milwaukee, it was never about the Compact. It was and remains a question of money and control over a suburb to the west.