How will Town of Waukesha move forward on septic system issue?
Marek wanted to have Laska removed from project
When and how the septic system issue moves forward within the Town of Waukesha is still to be determined.
It is on the Town Board's agenda once again Thursday night and has been almost every meeting for the last number of months. And if the discussion is like the last board meeting on Aug. 22, more heated exchanges could be in store.
Supervisor Mike Laska volunteered to head up the failing system months ago, but after Chairman John Marek became frustrated with the progress, he asked to have Laska replaced with Supervisor Brian Fischer, a veteran licensed engineer and architect.
"This is a sandbox I've played in professionally for the last 35 years," Fischer said. "I know what's going on. I make myself available to the town to move this along or it's not going to happen. There's an awful lot of stuff that hasn't been thought about or considered.
"My anxiety level is starting to rise. There are many, many decisions that need to be made."
Marek added: "It's the profession he's in. He understands it from start to finish. Why wouldn't we utilize that experience?"
Board sticks with Laska
Marek's recommendation, however, was shot down by a 3-2 vote as Laska and Supervisors Joe Banske and Larry Wolf voted against Fischer taking over.
Even so, Marek reiterated last week Fischer still needs to be the one who is in contact with Christopher Genellie, the senior project manager with Ruekert-Mielke, the civil engineering firm working with the town on the project.
"We know we have to move forward, but the Town Board members have done nothing, including not getting estimates," Marek said. "It has not moved forward one iota, because the Town Board elected to ignore 35 years of knowledge Brian has and leave it in the hands of someone with no experience."
Working with city
Marek, who has been in contact with city officials, said if Fischer was handling the project pipes could be in the ground within 60 days.
"There's an element to discredit my efforts," said Laska, who explained the project was stalling because he could not get in contact with city officials. "We cannot go further based on what the city would demand of us."
Genellie said his firm has prepared a project plan and a project specifications manual but added that in order to provide a completed design and project ready to bid for the town it needs the city approval.
Of the town's $7,500 budget, $4,900 has been spent on Ruekert-Mielke's services for preliminary work. Fischer, however, said decisions remain at the town level.
"There are technical decisions that have nothing to do with the city," Fischer said blatantly and explained that he will provide a list of questions to the board that needs to be addressed. "I'm not doing this to impress anyone. I'm doing this for the good of the town."
Meeting turns ugly
The 18-minute exchange got more heated when Laska came close to accusing Fischer of damaging the septic tank.
"You would like to install Fischer in my place?" Laska said to Marek. "The same individual that's fingerprints are on the destruction of what septic leach (drains) we had going for us back in 2012)."
"I don't think you should make allegations that somebody intentionally damaged town property," Marek fired back.
A riled-up Fischer then spoke up and demanded Laska say if he was actually accusing him of ruining a 55-year-old system that hasn't worked properly, he said, for some 20 years. Fischer said last week he conducted a professional test last year when he poured 2,000 gallons of clear water through the system.
"You got to be joking me," he responded, while adding the lifespan of a septic system is between 20 to 25 years. "He's trying to blame me and was a quarter inch away from slander. To make this suggestion is farcical.
"It was an exercise to see how it was performing and it showed that is was shot."
Fischer said last week that when the system overflowed last year it was a "tell tale sign and no surprise to me," because it was "working so incredibly slowly."
Costing taxpayer money
Through it all, the town has been included in the city's future water and sewer service area in the city's quest to get Great Lakes water, Marek said the problem with the Town Hall's septic tank is not going anywhere. Town Clerk Treasurer Jamie Salentine said it costs $350 each time to get the tank pumped.
"There's no miscommunication with the city," Marek said. "That's utter nonsense. While we sit here and bicker about this nonsense, we are pumping our septic system sometimes twice a month, sometimes once a month and flushing taxpayer money down the toilet. We need to get this done.
"We'll continue to spend $10,000 dollars when we should find a permanent solution to the problem. Until the balance of the Town Board see fit and assigns someone with experience, the delays and the slow movement of the project will continue," he said.
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