Eau Claire (WQOW) - If you have an opinion about Eau Claire's Confluence Project, you may be able to share that at the ballot box. A citizen group, the Confluence Referendum Committee, will try to gather enough signatures to put the project on the ballot next spring.
Developers are asking for $10.9 million from the city. As Eau Claire's Own News 18 reported this week, the city is in the process of deciding how much it will offer and will put a financial pledge with conditions before the city council at its next meeting. The council is expected to vote on the pledge Tuesday, October 22nd.
The group gathering signatures says a binding referendum "puts the future of this project squarely in the hands of voters."
About 3,600 valid signatures would be needed to get it on the ballot. That's equal to 15% of the votes cast in the last general election for governor, which is required by law. Once they begin collecting signatures, they have 60 days to file a petition.
Press Release from Citizens' Referendum Committee - A group of highly interested citizens have formed a committee, filed for an IRS 501(c)(4) EIN number and established a bank account to raise funds expressly for the purpose of gathering the signatures necessary to place a city-wide, binding referendum on the spring 2014 ballot.
"Whether you are for, or against the Confluence Project in its current form, you should be in favor of this referendum" said Mike Bollinger, one of three individuals on the Executive Committee, a businessman and former School Board Commissioner. "The project requires a substantial commitment of funds over multiple years by the citizenry of Eau Claire. It will also require funding from the State and Eau Claire County. A ‘yes' vote sends a clear message to those other entities that this is an important project to Eau Claire. A ‘no' vote also sends a clear message to our city council that the project should take another form. In either case, a binding referendum puts the future of this project squarely in the hands of voters."
Billed by supporters as the most important decision to impact Eau Claire in 50 years, the Confluence Referendum Committee feels that an informed populace should have the final say over that future direction.
The other members of the Executive Committee include former Councilman, Larry Balow, and local businesswoman, Judy Olson. They will also be at the press conference to be held on the steps of the City Building, Monday October 14th at 12 noon sharp to make the formal announcement, and answer questions by the press.
A letter will also be going to the City Council to formally request a public appearance on the city council agenda.