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Eau Claire County Board postpones health ordinance vote, opts to create task force

Eau Claire County Sign 10-14-2020

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW)- The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors decided to follow the city council's lead, and postpone a vote on the highly debated proposed public health ordinance.

The board voted 16 to 12 to postpone the vote and create a task force as soon as possible to address the ordinance.

The decision is similar to the one the city council made last week, which postponed the vote and calls on the city-county health director and city attorney to bring what they are calling a revised "engagement plan" and recommendations to form a task force to the council by January 25.

Supervisor Gary Gibson, who made the motion to postpone action on the ordinance, said it's important for the city and county to "get this right."

"Policy questions within the ordinance would be better served if they arrived with input from the business community, our educational institutions, our healthcare organizations and others," said Gibson. "If we listen to the public, there was a tremendous amount of them opposed versus those that were in favor."

In an effort to be consistent with the city council, the county board voted to postpone action on the ordinance to June 2021. Board chair Nick Smiar said although the county board can wait until June 2021 to address the ordinance, the board can bring it back any time before then and vote sooner.

Some supervisors did not agree with the idea of postponing a vote on the ordinance and argued it needs to be addressed sooner.

Supervisor Missy Christopherson proposed an amendment to ensure the task force is created as soon as possible rather than by the January 25 deadline set by the city council. The majority of board members then voted in favor of the amended motion to postpone the ordinance and create a task force immediately.

Now, board chair Nick Smiar will begin work to create the task force, which he said will include a broad spectrum of expertise from across the community. He said he also plans to coordinate with the city on its task force to avoid redundancy.

Jess Langlois

Jess Langlois is the weekend meteorologist and weekday multi-media journalist for News 18. She joined us in July of 2019.

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