NEW INFORMATION: Volunteers start collecting signatures for Confluence referendum

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A group handed out and began collecting signatures on petitions about the confluence project Friday evening.

The confluence referendum committee, made up of community and business leaders, formally asked the Eau Claire City Council for a binding referendum last month. The group handed copies of its final petition at a meeting tonight, and started collecting signatures immediately.

Committee chairman Mike Bollinger told us "I think there's lots of interest, I get a ton of e-mails about this. I know that there's lots of interest. I was just upstairs and circulated (a petition) and got 8 (signatures) collected upstairs at the American Legion here. I think there's a lot of interest in it and I think people really want the opportunity to vote."

If you want to read what the petition says, click on the link on the right side of this page.

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The committee had asked our attorney to solicit the city attorney for feedback on the petition language yesterday. Mr. Nick has publicly expressed concern around the legality of the language in the petitions original form around the historic buildings citing that it would attempt to supersede existing law. Our counsel believes that this objection would prove fruitless in a court case and we agree.

However, it was our intent to ask Mr. Nick for his opinion in order to proceed with a vote in the most expeditious manner possible rather than fighting over verbiage in court. The entire intent of this effort is to allow our citizenry to vote and have a say in the Confluence Project. To that end, we have modified the language of the petition slightly to insure that Mr. Nicks (sic) will have no further objection and allow the petition to proceed without objection once all the signatures are gathered.

Attached is the final petition which will be circulated (you can see it by clicking on the link on the right side of this story). Those interested in circulating a petition can pick up the proper forms at the kick off meeting to be held tomorrow night, Friday, November 22nd - 5:00 pm at the American legion building, 634 Water Street.

- Mike Bollinger (Chairman)
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Confluence Referendum Committee has scheduled a petition distribution event for supporters.

The group is handing out petitions on Friday at 5 p.m. It's at the American Legion on Water Street in Eau Claire. Supporters can start gathering signatures as soon as they pick up the petitions. Committee chairman Mike Bollinger told WEAU 13 News that the committee intends to gather enough signatures to seek a referendum on the Confluence Projects, as well as other future projects that meet the criteria spelled out in the petition. "If I named it 'The Confluence Project,' they could change the name," Bollinger told WEAU 13 News. "So we made it about those kinds of projects."

On Wednesday, Bollinger released a copy of the petition. It calls for an ordinance that would require that "certain building projects constructed with funds of the city or a city entity shall be submitted to referendum prior to construction." The petition goes on to say that before crews start building any project, including a building that's planned for dramatic, musical, or athletic performances, and that taxpayers fund part or all of, the city council would have to put a binding referendum to the voters first. The project would also have to cost $1,000,000 or more, and could include the dismantling of a historic or landmark building.

City Attorney Steve Nick said he has concerns about the legality of the proposal, and what potential impacts it could have beyond the Confluence Project. Bollinger says he asked Nick for his opinions this week so he knows where he stands before supporters collect the signatures. He plans to release more information on Friday.


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