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Wausau alderman split on funding for Thomas Street project at committee hearing


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - There's a fight brewing over fifteen million dollars in proposed TIF district funding for the Thomas Street project in Wausau.

Wausau's economic development committee met Tuesday night to go over the proposal to spend funding from TIF District 6 in order to pay for reconstruction of Thomas Street. City Council president Lisa Rasmussen says the expenditure is compatible with the project. "If we build Thomas Street properly, we want things to relocate and redevelop along that corridor, just like any other."

The city already has $800,000 budgeted from TIF 6 to pay for land purchases for the project for 2013. The rest of the funding is the current issue. Alderman Bill Nagel says he's against the project. "The issue is are we going to spend city tax money for a thoroughfare at that point? If I have a say in it, I say no." Nagel said he's willing to spend money to improve the road itself but is not in favor of creating a highway that connects 17th and Grand Avenues.

Wausau lost out on state and federal funding on the project last year after federal highway officials had concerns over the way the city managed the buyouts of 10 properties along the path of the proposed road widening project. The city has been searching for ways to pay for the project since then.

The funding measure will come before the finance committee before moving on to the council.