This month’s column focuses on a number of things happening at MEUW.
The 2015-2016 state legislative session is off to a quick start. The legislature has been focused on the governor’s proposed budget, recently enacted right-to-work legislation and school accountability. MEUW members have been largely unaffected by the legislature’s work thus far. The proposed budget’s impact on your utility’s operations is likely minimal. We have engaged in two issues related to consolidation of various state agencies’ of I.T. functions with the Department of Administration, and the proposed elimination of the Local Government Property Insurance Fund. We are concerned how the I.T. proposal will impact the high level of service our members receive at the Public Service Commission and how several members will be impacted by the proposed elimination of LGPIF. We will remain engaged in this process to raise awareness of the impacts of these proposals.
The only major piece of legislation that we have engaged in thus far is the proposed elimination of the state’s prevailing wage law. MEUW has supported similar legislation in previous legislative sessions because it will lower the cost of infrastructure replacement. Property tax levy freezes have postponed street projects and our members have absorbed additional restoration costs of infrastructure replacement to maintain reliability of their systems. Late last week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told WisPolitics that the full repeal of existing prevailing wage law is unlikely in the Assembly but he is open to potential reforms. We will keep you updated on this issue as appropriate.
Progress on MEUW’s website continues. We introduced the new website in December 2014 and have been working to develop new features that will enhance member interaction since then. We will continue to work behind the scenes to ensure a seamless integration over the next quarter and we will communicate to the membership as new features become available.
MEUW has held a number of very successful events thus far in 2015. Attendance was at an all-time high for the Joint Superintendents Conference in January, we brought back the Watt-Hour Meter workshop in March and the 2015-2016 Management Training Program kicked off with Session A in February. The MEUW Annual Conference will take place in Wisconsin Rapids June 17-19 to help celebrate Wisconsin Rapids Waterworks & Lighting Commission’s 100th anniversary. The annual conference planning committee has put together an outstanding lineup of speakers to address opportunities, challenges and strategic planning for public power, EPA Clean Power Plan and long-term power supply considerations, employee retention, and customer service. Please look for registration materials in later this month and plan to attend this great conference!
Thank you for your support of MEUW and please do not hesitate to contact me 608-837-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments or concerns.