A town hall meeting to discuss Port Washington’s efforts to secure funding to repair its deteriorating breakwaters will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at City Hall.
Mayor Tom Mlada said the session will provide a forum to clear up misperceptions about the situation, to answer questions and to rally people to call on legislators to fund the needed repairs.
“We need to continue to channel the energy of the people,” he said. “We need a strong, unified, collective voice to affect change and secure authorization and appropriation of federal funds to fix this vital asset before it fails.
“We have to be loud and consistently squeaky so this effort doesn’t fail.”
People have begun to contact area legislators — U.S. Rep. Tom Petri and Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin — to try and rally support, Mlada said, and it is having an effect.
Johnson sent a staff member to the city last week to survey the breakwaters and Baldwin has asked Petri’s office for information on the city’s plight, Mlada said. Petri has been working with the city on the issue for a couple months.
The city will further its efforts to get the Port breakwater repairs on the Army Corps’ list of projects for 2015 next week when Mlada said he and Ald. Dan Becker, the Common Council president, will go to Washington, D.C., to lobby legislators and the Corps.
Mlada said they are hoping to partner with We Energies’ lobbyists when visiting officials, noting that the utility’s Port facility is protected by the breakwaters.
“It would be more powerful if we can partner with them,” he said.
The Corps is currently compiling its project list for consideration, making the visit doubly important, Mlada said.
“If we’re going to make a case, now is the time,” he said. “There is a real potential upside to this. I’m hoping we can clearly make a case for this and convince them to put our project on the list for 2015.”