Wisconsin News

Mayor's residency incentive plan gets little support

Kabat says it's back to the drawing board

Mayor's residency incentive plan gets little support

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The Mayor of La Crosse's plan to revitalize La Crosse neighborhoods by enticing city employees to live there, is headed back to the drawing board.

The plan was to give a financial incentive for employees to live in one of three neighborhoods, Powell Poage, Washburn or Lower Northside Depot. But the plan received very little support when it was presented Tuesday.

Mayor Tim Kabat introduced the plan at the executive committee meeting Tuesday afternoon. It calls for a $500 bonus for new hires that live in one of the neighborhoods. It would also give a financial incentive to every employee who lives in the neighborhoods all year.

Part of an ongoing discussion about bringing employees back to the city. One option was to just focus on these three neighborhoods, but the mayor says that might not be enough.

"The feeling was maybe trying to target those specific neighborhoods maybe wasn't either broad enough or far reaching enough so we need to have more discussion it sounds like," said Mayor Kabat.

Some of the concerns included where the city would find the money to cover the extra cost, which could total more than $41,000. There was also a concern about enough quality housing in those neighborhoods to bring in the employees.

But even with Tuesday's setback, the Mayor says there are plenty of ideas on the table for the council to consider. "We had done this a few months ago and the responses were literally kind of across the board as far as people interested in retirement programs, people interested in a one time lump some, people interested in increasing their pay, I mean housing programs, so this really tried to narrow it down and obviously we've got a little more work to do yet," said the Mayor.

Kabat also says he would like to see further discussion involve the entire city council and not just the Executive Committee level.

The city used to require their employees to live in the city, but a 2010 state law prohibited that requirement.

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