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Thursday - June 14, 2018 3:57 am

La Crosse Center expansion fight over borrowing still brewing in city hall Featured

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There could be a throwdown tonight at La Crosse’s city hall over the La Crosse Center expansion.

The city council votes on the latest plan for the civic center and momentum appears to be on the side of one that would have the city borrowing $43 million on a controversial $49 million design.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat, however, is opposed to borrowing that much and what it would mean for taxpayers or other projects in the city.

“That’s well beyond our limit, as far as the impacts either to raising taxes or corresponding cuts to our current capital budget,” he said, “and nobody wants to do that or, at least, I’m not in favor of that.”

Kabat told WIZM he's also not a fan of how the Center expansion covers an entire half acre of Riverside Park.

Many council members are very supportive of the plan.  Jessica Olson, who represents the council on the La Crosse Center Board calls the expansion "critical" for the future of the city.

“This is a great project for the La Crosse Center,” Kabat admits. “We have to do it but we have to have some limits.”

Kabat says he's OK with an earlier plan for the center to borrow $35 million towards a smaller, $42 million expansion project, while several council members are backing the more expensive plan.

“I’m still very supportive of the $42 million but not more than that,” Kabat said.

The state approved $5 million in funding for the project.

It's unclear whether there's enough votes on the city council to approve the more expensive plan tonight.

It could mean typical homeowners in the city pay hundreds more in property taxes over the next 20 years to pay for the center. Read/watch more on that here.

Last modified on Thursday - June 14, 2018 6:44 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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