LA CROSSE, WI -

A controversy over a lease agreement filled the council chambers in La Crosse Tuesday night.

The city was faced with a resolution to terminate a lease and evict the owner of the Municipal Boat Harbor. That's located on Isle La Plume.

The Board of Public Works unanimously approved it earlier this week.

The city attorney started the discussion with a lengthy history of late payments, defaulting, and failing to maintain the property dating back to 2002. He also said the business entered into sub leases without city approval.

The Harbor's attorney refuted those points.

Residents of the so-called boat house "neighborhood" call this a hasty move by the city and say the owner needs to be given a chance.

"It is a relatively black and white case. We make promises and people expect us to keep them. The leaser made promises and did not keep them, and he did not keep them repeatedly over years," said District 8 Council Member Bob Seaquist.

"I know sometimes maybe you get a little behind on money, but I always try to get it paid up and due, but the other stuff I was real surprised. I think now we can get with the city and see what all the disagreements are about and see how to make everyone happy, so I'm willing to do that," said Municipal Boat Harbor owner Steven Mills.

The matter was referred for 60 days. Both sides hope to use the time to avoid legal action.