La Crosse budget reorganization plan receives pushback from Executive Committee

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat is getting plenty of pushback from other city leaders about the proposed reorganization of the 2021 operating budget.

It includes eliminating director positions for the city of engineering and public works and the La Crosse Center.

Various other positions for the city would also be eliminated, and some departments would be combined.

Parks & Rec, the La Crosse Center, Streets, Refuse, & Recycling, and the Utilities & Engineering departments would be combined and called ‘Operations’.

Committee members said they don’t necessarily disagree with the idea, but they don’t like how it was brought to them.

“We know at the end of the day that we work better when we work together, that’s just a fact,” said Executive Committee President, Martin Gaul. “I have to believe that even if our long-range plan was to implement a program like this, I think it’s something that has to be built. It isn’t something that you just throw on the table and then backfill it in. I think this is a plan that needed to be fleshed out with city staff, knowing that their retirements were coming up, and handling it in that way instead of putting this into place and then letting us work out the details. I don’t think it’s a productive way for us to address this.”

Any changes to the budget would need to be approved by the common council.

Read Kabat’s memo to the city’s Executive Committee here: Mayor Kabat’s Reorganization memo