Council toys with merging water and sewer utilitiesThe Hudson City Council has informed the Public Utility Commission that oversees the Hudson Water Utility that it could be restructured.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The Hudson City Council has informed the Public Utility Commission that oversees the Hudson Water Utility that it could be restructured.
The decision to examine the operation of the water utility grew out of a discussion at the council’s Jan. 5 meeting about replacing longtime Water Utility Director Dennis Christophersen, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 13.
City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick noted that the water utility and the hiring of its director are under the control of the Public Utility Commission.
Because the water utility serves both the city and village of North Hudson, the commission has representatives from both municipalities.
Munkittrick advised that the City Council could make recommendations regarding the job description, qualifications and pay for the director position, but the commission has control over those matters.
The council approved recommending to the commission that it change some qualifications in the job description from “desired” to “required” and set the annual salary range for the water utility director at $63,000 to $75,000.
The council also suggested that the new director be required to have a college bachelor’s degree and state certification to operate a water utility.
Mayor Dean Knudson noted that the city has the power to abolish the Public Utility Commission and take over direct control of the water utility. He also suggested that the city might want to combine the water and sewer departments, pointing out that the Wastewater Treatment Department used to be part of the Public Works Department.
“I think it’s an opportune time to look at it and see if we can save some money,” Alderperson Alan Burchill said in support of the mayor’s idea.
Alderperson Scot O’Malley agreed and moved to amend his original motion on the director’s pay and qualifications to include notifying the Public Utility Commission that the council is reviewing its structure.
The amendment said the council is considering changing the structure of the commission, keeping it as it is, or combining the water utility with another utility.
The amendment to the motion and the motion each carried on 5-1 votes.
Alderperson Randy Morrissette II voted no both times.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Morrissette said.