Many residents of Park Falls are probably not aware that the city’s complicated pumps, valves, and sensors for water and wastewater systems are located underground and are carefully monitored by the Public Works Department on a 24/7 basis.
It is called a SCADA system, which stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, and is made up of highly technical software and hardware computer connections to monitor wastewater and wells and alert the Public Works if there might be a leak or other malfunction that may need immediate attention.
Public Works Director Scott Hilgart told the Public Works Committee of the Whole on July 1 that the current SCADA system has not operated efficiently or reliably for some time and is causing a lot more hands-on monitoring than if a more appropriate SCADA were installed.
Hilgart said the company the city purchased the aging-out system from has nearly gone out of business and that they are no longer capable of sending service people to Park Falls.
“There’s not much question that we have to update this system,” Hilgart said. “It is the brain and the nerves of those municipal services.”
Interim administrator Steve Kubacki said that he and Hilgart have met with the city’s auditor to consider if the balances set aside in the Public Works account for such purposes is adequate to cover the cost of the new system.
“There’s really no reason to delay,” Kubacki said. “We have the money and the auditor agreed that we should move forward.”
The final numbers on the purchase and installation of a SCADA would run between $177,000 to $200,000.
Hilgart noted that Altronex Control Systems has offered a two-year parts and labor maintenance agreement and they will have maintenance service from Wausau or Stevens Point.
The committee agreed to send the proposal to the city council for the final decision.
In other business, a discussion that has come up many times over the years which has resulted in an on-again and off-again situation continues to be parking regulations in the downtown.
“There is already an ordinance for two-hour parking on First Avenue North and Division Street,” said Mayor Michael Bablick. “It is up to me to require enforcement.”
The problem of downtown employees filling those spots in front of the businesses is ongoing and needs resolution.
“The employees are warned and it gets better for a while and then it goes right back to the way it was,” Bablick said.
After some discussion it was agreed to sign the streets in question and then ask the police department to start chalking tires and, if needed, ticket the offending vehicles.
The city maintains two public parking lots in the downtown area and it was noted that new habits need to be established to leave the spots in front of the businesses open.