Group asks for Confluence Project referendum - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Group asks for Confluence Project referendum

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Monday, Mike Bollinger and two other members of the newly formed Confluence Referendum Committee submitted a letter asking the Eau Claire city council for a formal vote on whether there should be a binding referendum on the use of city money to fund the confluence project.

This committee is neither for nor against the confluence project," said Bollinger "Its intent is to force a referendum so that both sides can present their views in a clear and concise manner. This is not a decision to be left to eleven people."

"I think the conversations up until now have been though limited constituencies," said City Council Vice President Dave Duax, "The public has not been fully engaged in this and one of the concerns I have is that we need to make sure that the community has our back in this. When it comes to difficult questions like this quite frankly we can use all the input we can get."

A number of city council members were in attendance and left the news conference with different opinions.

"In my opinion this is a mean spirited move because it's taking a complicated and exciting point for our city and pulling it down to a question that doesn't reflect the input we still seek and we have been working so hard to pull out of people," said City Council President Kerry Kincaid.

"I don' think it's mean spirited at all, "said Duax "I think it's done in a positive spirit because the city is very divided on this because they don't have all the answers we have and we don't have all the answers we want."

The wording of any possible referendum isn't clear yet. Bollinger says he's offering the city council the opportunity to craft the wording if it votes in favor of a referendum. If they're forced to petition the public to force a referendum Confluence Referendum Committee members will choose the wording.

"If this is to be binding the wording is very critical if the council picks the wording they might be able to pick wording that the council is more comfortable with, "said Duax " If the referendum committee picks the wording we're going to have to live with what ever that is if the referendum passes.

It's unknown whether a vote to allow a referendum will be on the council's agenda next week. But what is certain is that there are still many questions that must be answered before the project moves forward.

 

project developers are asking for $10.9 million from the city to support the community arts center and student housing. They'd like an additional $2.5 million for a plaza which would lead up to the building. That brings the total to over $13 million. 

The city is in the process of deciding how much it will offer and will put a pledge, with conditions, before the city council at its next meeting. The council is expected to vote on the pledge Tuesday, October 22nd. During that same meeting the council could choose to vote on holding a referendum.  

 

 

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