Water department makes last-minute pitch for additional position

Superintendent says utility is behind on maintenance but request is not likely to be included in budget
Ozaukee Press staff


Ozaukee Press staff

With the Port Washington Fire Department slated to get its second full-time employee next year despite a tight budget, Water Supt. Dave Kleckner on Tuesday made a pitch for the utility to add another position.

Kleckner told the Board of Public Works that his outside crew of four people is falling behind the required annual maintenance of the water system and, because his crew is aging, the department will face a spate of retirements in the coming years.

“Pretty soon there’s going to be an awful lot of experience walking out the door,” he said, noting two of the crew members are in their 60s and one in his mid-50s.

And in the meantime, the water distribution system is growing, he said, noting there’s been a 58% increase in the miles of water mains since 1984 and a 21% increase in the number of water services since 1997.

The outside crew had five workers from 1993 until 2011, Kleckner said. Because of attrition, the staff was trimmed by one position. 

Kleckner, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he did not budget for the additional worker next year, but told the board it’s time to think about adding more workers.

Of the 251 work days last year, he said, there were only two members of the outside crew available on 85 of those days for reasons that include illness, vacation and the need to bring someone into the water plant to fill in there.

The annual cost of bringing on another worker is between $70,000 and $89,500, Kleckner said.

“I want to at least get the wheels turning,” Kleckner said.

City Administrator Mark Grams said it’s unlikely there’s room in the budget to add another position for the full year.

“We can see how the year goes and see where we’re at,” he said, suggesting an extra person could be added to the staff mid-year if the budget allows.

“Back in the day, when we had 25 people in the street department, we used to steal a person from there when we needed help,” Ald. John Sigwart said. “Now, we have 11 people there and we can’t do that anymore.”



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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