Proposed Confluence referendum question released

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- We're getting our first look at a draft of a possible referendum on the Confluence project that could be on the ballot this spring.

Thursday the Eau Claire Referendum Committee sent an email to WEAU 13 News, complaining about the city's wording of the referendum question.

The referendum, if approved, would force voters to approve spending any taxpayer money on the 80-million dollar project that would create a new performing arts center, student housing and retail space.

City council member Dave Duax told us Thursday they're working on the question for introduction at the next council meeting next week.

But members of the referendum committee say the question isn't clear enough.

The referendum was established after almost 5,000 people in Eau Claire signed a petition placing it on the spring ballot.

WEAU was able to get a copy of the draft that is set to be presented to the Eau Claire City Council on Tuesday, here is the question and statement in their entirety:

Statement: This charter ordinance would require approval, through a binding referendum submitted to the voters of the City of Eau Claire, for spending $1,000,000 or more prior to the start of any physical construction of any municipally financed project which includes a building planned for dramatic, musical, or artistic performances. This would apply to spending any funds of the city, or any entity created by the city, whether those funds account for all or part of the project cost. The wording of any referendum must provide the specific purpose, location and cost of the project and an estimate of operating costs which will be provided by the city or a city entity. If the binding referendum fails, neither the city nor any city entity could proceed with that project. However the charter ordinance would not prohibit the city from exercising its role in the planning and design of such publicly financed projects.

Question: “Shall a charter ordinance be enacted to require a referendum to approve spending $1,000,000 or more in funds of the City, or any entity created by the City, for construction of a building project planned for dramatic, musical, or artistic performances?”


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