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Weston wants June 5th bus referendum put off

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A Metro-Ride bus in Wausau.
A Metro-Ride bus in Wausau.

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – A Marathon County judge could decide as early as this week whether the June 5th Weston bus referendum should be called off until an appeals court rules on a legal challenge to it.

Lawyers for the village of Weston filed a motion last week with Judge Mike Moran, asking him to stay or stop his order putting the referendum on the June recall ballot from taking effect.

Moran issued a writ of mandamus in March, which ordered Weston to hold the referendum. The referendum asks voters whether the village should adopt a public transportation ordinance that provides for weekday bus service starting in 2013.

An attorney for the three village residents who sued the village in February said his side opposes Moran staying the order.

The village filed paperwork May 15th indicating it would appeal Moran’s decision to put the referendum on the ballot.

Village attorneys maintain that direct legislation cannot be used to overturn the village board’s March 2011 decision to discontinue bus service. They also argue that the proposed ordinance is illegal because it is administrative in nature – or provides a specific level of bus service.

“There will be irreparable harm to the village board itself if a precedent is set whereby a special interest group may utilize the direct legislation statute to attempt to overturn those properly enacted decisions made by elected officials,” attorney Mark Klinner wrote in a legal brief.

Klinner suggested that the referendum be held in November.

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