UPDATE: Funding request withdrawn for governor's mansion - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Funding request withdrawn for governor's mansion


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Administration scrapped its plan to use taxpayer dollars to pay for $478,700 worth of kitchen renovations at the Governor's mansion.

The State Building Commission was set to vote Wednesday afternoon on a general fund borrowing request of $478,700 for the kitchen renovations, but DOA pulled it from the agenda just hours before the meeting.

"My wife and the members of the foundation said they'd like to raise the funds for that," said Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), referring to WERF, the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation.

Private dollars are what First Lady Tonette Walker originally wanted to use for the renovations.

"When it went through the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board (SCERB), they talked about wanting to have the state have some role and so there was some confusion in terms of what SCERB wanted the state's role to be," explained Gov. Walker.

Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) sit on SCERB and on the State Building Commission.

They told 27 News whether the dollars were publicly or privately provided, the renovations are needed.

"It just simply is outdated and much of the equipment doesn't work and when the proposal came to redo it, I don't think there was any controversy with anybody who sat there," said Sen. Schultz.

"We went over the facilities there and we came up with a unanimous conclusion that that kitchen had to be updated.  And the cost is something we have to rely on experts for," said Sen. Risser.

But whether the cost or the work itself is warranted or not, the renovations will now be exclusively paid for with whatever funds WERF can raise.

"Its not gonna slow the process down," said Gov. Walker.  "They've already raised a fair amount of money that they can go ahead and cover the project plans and then they'll come back further along the way with a plan on how they're gonna raise that."

While the Governor indicated that WERF does have some money to start the project, neither his office nor the department of administration have said just how much money the foundation has set aside.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Money to pay for a $478,000 renovation project at the governor's mansion will be sought through private donations rather than taxpayer funds as originally proposed.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration says, the nonprofit Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation will seek private donations for the project.

The funding request was removed from Wednesday's agenda for the State Building Commission, although Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says it will return if enough donations cannot be raised.

The renovation project includes upgrading the first-floor kitchen, as well as the kitchenette in the private quarters on the second floor.  The main kitchen was last renovated in 1986, while the residential kitchenette has not been updated since the late 60s.

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