Wausau Finance Committee Sets a Date for Government Action Decision

Wausau is one step closer to possibly making changes to its government structure. The Finance Committee on Tuesday decided a referendum vote during the April 2015 election season is the best way a government form change should be decided.

"It was much easier to run cities and it was much easier to be a mayor than it is today," said committee member William Nagle.

There are a lot of decisions to make on whether or not there is going to be a government form change. It's come about as the public's confidence in its government seems to lack.

"I think this is a really crutial decision for Wausau," said Finance Committee President Keen Winters. "Cities have gotten more complex over the years and the question is how are you going to run them? How are you going to have checks and balances and are we going to continue to run the city the way we did in 1872 or is it time for change?"

The committee did not discuss those options, but instead looked to the end to set a road map on when they need everything done by. They talked about having a referendum vote in November to coincide with the election. That way, referendum costs would be minimal, only a few hundred dollars, verses having a special election costing about $9,500.

Members were very concerned about the time constraint as details would need to be set by August 13 and sent to the Marathon County clerk by August 27 to be able to get on the November ballot. Focused on having an informed public, they decided November was out of the question to give them and the public more time to understand their options.

Having a public hearing was also put up as an option, which would ultimately place the final decision into the council's hands. The four members present, however, decided the April 2015 date was best as it both gave more time to inform the public and find options.

"I think it was prudent that we push it off to April so that we don't rush and do it right and take the steps to look at the best form of government for Wausau," said Mayor Jim Tipple.

"I'm excited that we're moving forward. We've set a timeline now and people should know that we set a timeline and to look for more information from us on this subject," Winters said.

They all said they plan on sending out information on this government action as soon as they have more plans in place. Though they did not make a decision on this, they did appear to be in favor of getting outside council to study other forms of government to give the best options for Wausau.

The decision to have a referendum for the April 2015 election season will head to the city council.

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