LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

The La Crosse City Council voted Thursday to give Mayor Tim Kabat more power to deal with the owner of the Municipal Boat Harbor.

The council voted unanimously to allow the Mayor to move forward with litigation against Harbor Operator Steve Mills, if it comes to that.  Mills has a history of late payments, defaulting, and failing to maintain the property dating back to 2002.  Earlier this month the council gave Mills until February 17th to pay outstanding utility bills, and until early March to secure insurance for the harbor.

The council has given Mills deadlines in the past, but failed to follow through when Mills missed them.  Mayor Kabat says they have a clearer plan this time, and with the vote to allow him to bring litigation without having to go through the council, they will follow through this time.  "With the ability of the Mayor's office to move forward," says Kabat, "we can be more responsive if there is a need, if we decide if there's something that's especially troubling we can move forward where as before, to go through the council process would just automatically extend that out."

Mills' first deadline is February 17th to pay outstanding bills, but Mayor Kabat says he will likely not a decision on litigation then.  Kabat wants to wait until early March to see if Mills makes the deadline to secure insurance for the harbor.

Mayor Kabat says he recently spoke to Mills who assured him he is close to securing insurance for the harbor.