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Muskego council might nullify lake-park petition

Feb. 21, 2012

The direct-legislation effort to stop Muskego from going forward with plans to establish a lake park could be challenged Wednesday by the Muskego Common Council on the grounds that the direct-legislation petition is improper.

The petition, signed by far more than the required 1,802 people, calls for the city to not acquire two lake properties for the proposed park without first putting the purchase to a referendum.

But the resolution the council will vote on Wednesday would set aside the direct-legislation petition and block a referendum on the property purchase.

The council is within its rights to do nullify the petition, the proposed resolution says, for two reasons: The direct-legislation is administrative in nature and not a proper subject for direct legislation, and the direct legislation would conflict with two city ordinances and two resolutions, also making it out of bounds for direct legislation.

One of those ordinances two gives the Common Council exclusive right to decide spending questions. The other says that no referendum is needed if a project costs less than $10 million. The property purchase is $3.6 million, but park development would bring up the tab.

Because the direct legislation constitutes an implied repeal of those two ordinances, it is not a proper subject of direct legislation, Wednesday's proposed council resolution states.

It also notes that the direct legislation conflicts with the council's prior resolution to go ahead with the purchase. The council passed that 4-3 on Jan. 24.

Another split vote is expected Wednesday.

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