UPDATE: 2007 work at Governor's mansion cost taxpayers $198k - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: 2007 renovations at Governor's mansion cost taxpayers $198,200


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) asking for money from the state's general fund to pay for renovations at the Governor's mansion is not unprecedented.

DOA records show that in 2007, a similar request was made under Gov. Jim Doyle (D) to renovate parts of the basement at the executive residence.

Those renovations were paid, in part, with $198,200 of general fund supported borrowing.

A DOA spokesperson says the total budget request was for $384,000, but assumes the balance was paid for with private donations to the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation (WERF).

Last week, 27 News learned that DOA recently made a request to the State Building Commission seeking $478,700 in general fund supported borrowing to pay for renovations to both the main floor kitchen and an upstairs kitchenette at the mansion.

The request stated that WERF was currently raising funds to pay for a portion of the renovations, but did not give details as to how much.

27 News has requested that information.

The Governor's office released a statement over the weekend that the industrial kitchen on the main floor is often used to provide food service for special events at the residence.

The statement also points out that kitchen has not been updated since 1986.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker's office released a statement Saturday saying a majority of the funds for the proposed kitchen renovation projects at the executive residence will be raised by First Lady Tonette Walker through private donations to the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation(WERF).

The Department of Administration(DOA) this week sent a request to the Building Commission for a renovation project to update the building's industrial kitchen and its residential kitchenette.

According to the statement released Saturday, the project proposal before the Building Commission asks for approval for the full project cost of approximately $478,000, which will allow DOA to move forward with the project.

"The Executive Residence is truly the People's House and, each year, thousands of people go there for events, meals, or tours," Governor Walker was quoted as saying in the statement. "Tonette is committed to working with the foundation to raise the majority of the funds for this renovation project, which will make sure the People's House is in good repair and can serve all who visit throughout the year."

The governor's office says the industrial kitchen is often used to provide food service for special events at the residence.

The statement also points out the kitchens have not been updated since 1986 and the 1960s, respectively.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Administration is asking the State Building Commission to approve $478,700 in general fund supported borrowing for kitchen renovations at the Governor's mansion.

The request for the revamp of both the first floor kitchen and the second floor private quarters kitchenette originally came from First Lady Tonette Walker.

The First Lady and members of WERF, the non-profit Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation, first pitched the idea of kitchen renovations to the State Capital and Executive Residence Board in September of 2011.

Minutes from that meeting show that WERF was going to request in-kind donations to replace the kitchen without any structural/permanent changes.

But in the DOA's request to the State Building Commission, the project description includes several changes to the kitchen with the installation of new equipment, such as commercial grade storage cabinets, shelving, disposal, dishwasher, oven, stove, refrigerators and freezers.

It also calls for the installation of new cabinetry and updates to existing ceiling and lighting features.

The DOA request states that WERF is currently fundraising to contribute toward the cost of the project, but does not provide any dollar estimate for that contribution.

DOA states that the improvements are needed, because the main floor kitchen has not been renovated since 1986 and that it is used to prepare food for over 15,000 visitors annually who attend receptions, dinners, meetings and public tours.

27 News has asked DOA for details on how much of the $478,700 would come from general fund borrowing and how much would come from contributions to WERF.

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