By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A judge on Thursday ruled in favor of the Village of Maine in a lawsuit brought by the city of Wausau and a handful of land owners, according to Marathon County Circuit Court documents.
Maine residents voted in December 2015 to incorporate to village status, to allow for a new boundary agreement to help Brokaw resolve its financial crisis. Since Brokaw’s central business, a paper mill, closed its doors in 2012, Brokaw is struggling to cope with more than $3 million in debt.
Wausau responded in February 2016 by filing a lawsuit that accused Maine of violating open meetings laws when planning to incorporate. The lawsuit was filed in part to allow a handful of property owners to annex their land to Wausau after the vote was final.
Then in November, Marathon County Circuit Judge Jill Falstad ruled the court cannot void the meetings that Maine held or their actions leading up to the incorporation, leaving the village’s status intact. Wausau also challenged a collective boundary agreement between Maine, Brokaw and the town of Texas that would help manage Brokaw’s debt.
In Thursday’s court decision, Circuit Judge Jill Falstad ruled that even if Main repeatedly and intentionally violated the open meetings law to prevent annexation, the court has no power to validate the annexations. The decision “appears to limit the consequences of the open meetings law violations to the imposition of forfeitures against those officials who are shown to have violated the law,” according to a city of Wausau news release issued Friday afternoon.
Members of the Wausau city council will now meet with legal advisors to evaluate Falstad’s decision, consider the city’s options and decide on a future course of action, according to the release.
Read the full decision here:DecisionOnMotionForSummary_TownOfMaine-2