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Documenters: Common Council meeting (March 12, 2019)

in Documenter Stories

By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review

Tuesday’s council meeting began with discussion of a compensation study that had been performed. Council member Gary Gisselman stated he voted against the item because he thinks the city can do better by its employees. The item passed 7-2.

The owner of the Wausau Center mall submitted a request for a 3-month extension on payment of $13,000, to allow them time to draft a proposal, which could result in an abatement or reduction of charges. Given its brevity, the extension would likely have no fiscal impact on the city. Economic Development Director Chris Schock stated that in his opinion, this is a reasonable request. Yet, council member Dennis Smith said he was against granting the extension because the mall owner well knew payment was due but did nothing about it until just now and is frequently late to pay. They choose to now, he said, only because missing this payment would put them in default on their agreement with the city. Still, the request was approved.

Also presented for approval was a lease for the riverfront park site to Briq’s to operate the concession stand there currently under construction. Council member Tom Neal made a motion to remove the words “as amended by the committee” from the proposed agreement and remove the words “at least” which precede “3 percent” in the amended version. The lease is for three-year terms and the original wording was that every three years there would be a 3 percent increase in the rate on rent.

Council member Neal stressed the importance that future council members not be able to increase this rate substantially simply to make more money for the city at the expense of a valued business partner, on an amenity in a park. He also said he did not like that the council was made to vote on something that says “as amended” when the amendment was not in front of them.

Council member Smith argued that amenities are paid for by taxpayers. Thus, the city should always try to break even or at least come close.

Smith also asked why the building would not be maintained year-round. Schock stated that the proposal made no such requirement and, while the building will only be operated seasonally, $1000 rent will be charged to Briq’s year-round.

The proposal passed, as did Neal’s amendment.

Editor’s note: The Wausau Pilot and Review Documenters program is made possible through individual donations and grants from several organizations including the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. The program aims to democratize news and information at the local level through a group of local contributors who attend meetings and document their observations.

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