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Friday - September 14, 2018 3:01 am

Timing of competing wheel tax options creates urgency for La Crosse mayor Featured

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La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat realizes his proposed wheel tax to fund roads isn't the most popular of ideas.

He's hoping, however, the city council still votes for it next month and, he said from the WIZM studio Thursday, if that vote is delayed, it might be too late.

Kabat expects the La Crosse County Board to adopt a $56 wheel tax after a November advisory referendum on the issue. At that point, the council is all but guaranteed not to add a city tax, and Kabat says, that means city residents will be paying for something they're not going to get.

"If you live in the City of La Crosse, my argument is, we won't see any benefit because the county will use that to fix roads out in the county, which their responsible for," Kabat said. "That's what they're looking to do."

A county wheel tax, Kabat argues, won't make fixing city streets a priority. Essentially, the mayor wants to pass a $25 city wheel tax, to fix city roads, and force the County Board back to the drawing board.

"My counter argument is, when the county board adopts a $56 wheel tax and the city sees no benefit, then what?" Kabat asked. "Do you really think then the city council is going to tack on another $25? I find that very unlikely.

"If the city goes first, I think the county will not necessarily adopt a ($56) wheel tax," Kabat said. "Maybe they will scale that back or decide to do something else."

Kabat's wheel tax would generate roughly $1.2 million for roads in the city. The county's wheel tax would generate approximately $5 million for mostly rural roads.

Kabat acknowledges the city council may not agree to his wheel tax but opt to simply borrow more to pay for additional road fixes instead.

Watch the full interview with Kabat below.

The mayor on #WIZM. TEXT or call 608.785.7914

Posted by 1410 WIZM - La Crosse's News Station on Thursday, September 13, 2018
Last modified on Friday - September 14, 2018 5:31 pm
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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