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A sewer line toward the future

Facility would boost development in city

Feb. 22, 2011

Franklin — Construction of an interceptor sewer system that would encourage development of the southwest portion of the city is one step closer to reality.

The Plan Commission and Public Works Committee, meeting jointly last week, approved the plan for the Ryan Creek Interceptor. The issue is expected to come before the Common Council meeting Tuesday for approval to acquire the necessary easements for construction.

The system would run south and west from the intersection of South 60th Street and West Ryan Road to South 76th Street near Ryan Creek, then follow Ryan Creek west and north to the intersection of South 112th Street and Ryan Road. It then would run along Ryan Road west to existing and future planned streets, according to the city's 2025 Comprehensive Master Plan.

A prelude to development

As the area is developed, smaller municipal sewers would be connected to the system.

"This system would open up development of the southwest quadrant of the city," said Mayor Tom Taylor. "There is a real sense of urgency here because putting this into place will allow us to build a number of things - such as a community center and additional business parks - and it falls within the Franklin School District. This will allow us the opportunity to grow as the economy improves.

"Our business park (at 51st Street and Ryan Road) is almost sold out, so we need to develop more opportunities for attracting businesses like (Northwestern Mutual)," Taylor noted.

The sewer system would also aid another city goal, as specified in Franklin's Comprehensive Master Plan: a property tax split in which 70 percent of taxes are paid by residentially and 30 percent commercially.

Currently, the city's commercial entities pay about 21 percent of the property taxes.

Cooperative efforts

Taylor said the city has pursued extension of the municipal sewer system since shortly after he was elected mayor in 2006.

The current financing, made possible through an intergovernmental agreement to link the system with Muskego and possibly a portion of New Berlin, includes the city borrowing a low interest loan of $31 million through the Clean Water Act provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

While Franklin will initially assume the loan, the plan calls for MMSD to begin buying the sewer from Franklin in 2017 and take ownership in approximately 2031.

"There are two things important to know in the financing," said Cal Patterson, city director of finance and treasurer. "Taxpayers will not be impacted and the sewer rates will not be affected."

City Engineer John Bennett noted that the city has been actively engaged in an engineering design phase with Ruekert-Mielke, a Waukesha firm. He said the city intends to bid out the construction work and hire four or five contractors by the end of the year, build in 2012 and have the sewer fully connected and running in 2013 - about a year ahead of the original schedule.

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