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Milwaukee County Water Utility: Analyzing the issues surrounding a potential transfer in ownership to the City of Wauwatosa

This report – commissioned by the Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services and the City of Wauwatosa – examines whether the time has come for the Milwaukee County water utility's infrastructure and customers to be transferred to the City of Wauwatosa’s water utility. It is a follow-up to a report produced for those two entities in April 2013, which examined the feasibility of transferring seven users of the county utility to the city utility in light of construction impacts caused by the Zoo Interchange project. That report ultimately led to an agreement between the two governments to effectuate the transfer of those seven users.

This report seeks to identify, break down, and analyze the issues so that county and city policymakers can better assess respective costs and benefits associated with a water utility transfer, and so that they ultimately can determine the desirability of entering into negotiations to pursue a transfer agreement. While we do not recommend whether the transfer should occur, we do provide insights into the possible framework for negotiations should county and city policymakers determine that is the direction in which they would like to proceed.