The mayor of La Crosse doesn’t want his community to bear the entire burden of funding a La Crosse Center expansion.
Mayor Tim Kabat said Thursday, in an ideal world, the civic center would be owned by La Crosse County, instead of just by the city.
Kabat would like some surrounding towns to consider raising their hotel room taxes to generate more tourist revenue, including La Crescent, Holmen and West Salem.
La Crescent and West Salem have room tax rates of 3 percent, compared to 8 percent in La Crosse, which could be increased to help finance the $42 million La Crosse Center remodeling.
People in La Crosse’s tourist industry say a sharp rise in the city’s room tax would hurt hotel and restaurant business.
Pete Boese, general manager of the La Crosse Radisson, says having fewer “heads in beds” at hotels will hurt restaurants and retail businesses downtown.
“Any tax rate higher than 9 percent is going to have a negative effect on our ability to secure the new larger conventions to fill our center,” Boese told the city finance committee.
That panel wants the full council to put off a decision on a La Crosse Center funding plan until June.