Council votes to postpone action on Confluence referendum

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- "My take is that we really need to make a decision," said Eau Claire City Council Member Andrew Werthmann.

At Tuesday's Eau Claire City Council meeting, the Confluence Project was once again in the spotlight.

At issue -- whether the city should craft a referendum question about the Confluence Project or wait to see if an outside group collects enough signatures to force a question onto the ballot.

There was a lot of discussion but no final decisions.

"If the council doesn't feel comfortable voting on the Confluence Project, then we should put a question to referendum," Werthmann said.

Council members say when it comes down to it, they just did not have enough information to make decisions.

"Council members had not prepared any language and citizens who have proposed language weren't willing to share it yet so there was not a lot for us to discuss," Werthmann said.

Council member Dave Duax says Tuesday's meeting was a time for discussions. He says it is still too early to make any final decisions about a referendum, saying there is still a lot more to look into before the council could draft a question.

"We have some critical steps that even need to come first," he said.

Larry Balow, a member of the Confluence Referendum Committee believes his group's question has to do with the long-term cost of the Confluence Project. And he says it does not matter if council or his group asks it, it just needs to go to the people.

"As long as the question is asked to the taxpayers, are they willing to be the backstop, to pay the maintenance on the facility for the next 50 years," he said.

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