City of

District 15

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Contact Information

Home Address:

4117 Major Ave.
Madison , WI 53716

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Ahrens’ Updates

December 2017 District Update

December 7, 2017 2:20 PM


Water Bills:

You may be shocked to see your January "water bill" when it arrives in 2018. It's not a leak in your faucet. Or due to watering plants in the winter. It's due to a 27% increase in the water rates.

While the 27% increase is very high, the percentage of your "water bill" that is actually for the water is only a minor percent of the bill. That's why it has been re-titled the Municipal Services Bill.

Reviewing my last bill, it seems that we use an above-average volume of water (4300 gallons!) for which we paid $21. This is pretty cheap (about one-half cent per gallon) for the reliable delivery of this clean and safe necessity.  The portion of the bill for water was only one-third of the overall bill which was $60.68.

  • The largest part of the bill was for sewer services which was $26.73. The sewer bill provides funding for the sanitary sewer and treatment facility. The sewer bill is based on the amount of water consumed.
  • Another part of the bill is for the stormwater system. This also accounts for services such as leaf pick-up which prevents leaf-based phosphorus from entering the lakes. This portion of the bill is based on the amount of impervious land (house, driveway, etc.) on your property where water can run off and into the stormwater system. We paid $8.27 for stormwater service or 14% of the overall bill.
  • The smaller part of the bill is called the Urban Forestry Fee. This is based on the length of the street frontage of the home. Although described as a tax based on urban trees, there is no segregated fund for this purpose.

A few considerations about the increase in the fee:

  • This is the first increase in three years and there will be no additional increase for the next three years. This long delay in changing the price is due to the fact that the water utility is regulated by the Public Service Commission.  The cost of submitting a rate application to the PSC is so high and the approval process takes so long, that the Utility Board applies for rate changes every two years. Thus, if it's any comfort, the increase is about 9% each year.
  • But why is it such a big increase? The city is in the process of replacing 400 miles of water mains. The average cost of replacement is $1 million per mile.  Since 2005, the city has replaced 100 miles and will continue to spend about $10 million/ year on the replacement. Over the next three years, we will also build a new water tower and a new filtration system. All together, that's about $100 million in new construction and repairs over the three year period.
  • Even after the 27% increase, the fee for water in Madison will continue to be average when compared to other large municipalities in Wisconsin. This group of cities includes many cities that pump and treat their water from lakes, which is much cheaper than pumping water from aquifers thousands of feet below the surface.


Pinney Library:  

Last week, Friends of Pinney Library held a very successful fundraiser at the Harmony Bar. We raised about $10,000 from well-over 100 people. This was the THIRD annual event at the Harmony. Despite the numerous delays in getting the project underway, enthusiasm for the library remains strong.

Two weeks ago, local residents packed the library community room to meet with the library architects and Public Library staff to discuss different design proposals. The design team has been meeting with small groups of residents and staff to get the design right.

All that's left is for the City and the developer to reach an agreement on the details of the construction. We can have the groundbreaking even if we have to dig through the snow to get there!


Imagine Madison's Final Online Survey

We want your opinion on the priorities for Madison and how our community can be improved for everyone. In our third and final survey, you can prioritize strategies to tell us what Madison should work on first, share your ideas for action steps, and provide your insights about how Madison should accommodate new development. To weigh in, please go here.


2018-2019 Collection Schedule Calendars Now Available:

In this season of giving, the Streets Division would like to provide the residents of Madison with a tool they can use at their homes every day for the next two years.

It's the 2018 and 2019 collection schedule calendars!

The collection schedule calendar shows what day to expect your refuse, recycling, and large items to be collected by Streets Division crews. No more putting out the recycling cart on a wrong day, and no more getting confused with holiday collections.

To get your calendar, go to our website and enter your address as directed. A new tab will open on your web browser.  In the new tab, you will first see the 2017 collection calendar. When you scroll down, under the 2017 calendar you will find the 2018 and 2019 calendars. 

You can contact the Streets Division office to receive your calendar: call 246-4532.


Hope you have a break over the holidays.

If you have any concerns about the policies or services of the city, please feel free to write to me at or call me at 334-1156.


Positively Eastside,


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