Wausau's City Council Hashes Out Two Major Issues Facing the City

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The Wausau City Council held a special meeting of the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday to discuss major topics that have been receiving negative headlines.

The entire council along with Mayor Jim Tipple over the phone got the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns about the long-debated Thomas Street project and as well as the possibility of a council retreat to educate members on their rights and roles and the option of restructuring the entire government system.

"We actually had two plans tonight, really a compromise moving forward on Thomas St. as well as a compromise moving forward on the study for the governmental changes in the city government, and so I think that was exciting to see people come together on those," said Council Member Keen Winters.

The members seemed to leave the special meeting satisfied after asking and answering questions and concerns on the Thomas Street project for more than two and half hours.

"What we talked about is really having the streets committee focus exclusively on the road but having them work in the minimum possible right of way and then turning the rest of the right of way decisions over to the economic development committee," said Winters.

They would then use the Economic Development Committee as a clearing house, allowing residents who want to be bought out to vocalize that and for those who are set on staying or plan to expand can be accommodated as well.

"I think we can find a way to accommodate everybody who both wants to stay and wants to leave," he said.

Several residents, however, did not get the same feeling.

"We've been trying to bring the opininon of the neighborhood to the table for years now and everytime that voice comes out more, it's systematically crushed," said Thomas Street resident Tom Kilian.

He said he believes members will simply do what they want to do, ignoring what the residents have been voicing. Council Member Lisa Rasumussen, however, said they have listened and are trying to take aspects of nearly all plans put forward as the project heads to the Capital Improvements and Street Maintenance Committee on August 14.

"You can't satisfied 100% of the stakeholders because their interest are very diverse. We just have to figure out what will function and work for the majority that we can afford to put in," she said.

The CISM Committee is expecting a full house at the meeting in two weeks.

Council members also spoke about possible government restructuring and are looking at an administrative form of government rather than the current mayoral one. Winters put for a five-step action road-map about what needs to be decided and what needs to be done after each question is answered.

You can see his action plan in the attached documents. His plan is going ahead for review at the Human Resources Committee meeting on August 11.


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