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Mayor Kabat previews La Crosse’s 2021 operating budget, which could be approved Tuesday night



A pretty big meeting for the city of La Crosse on Tuesday night.


A 6 p.m. public hearing to go over the 2021 operating budget proposal, that could be passed by the city council.

“This is, on an annual basis, it’s really the city’s largest policy effort and how we put the resources behind the priorities for our city for next year,” Mayor Tim Kabat said Monday on La Crosse Talk PM.

Kabat listed some of the priorities this budget will address, including fixing the roads — and infrastructure in general — along with neighborhoods, policing, code enforcement, new housing, parks.

The public hearing with the city council can be viewed online or in person. Watch by clicking here. Questions can be sent to the city clerk by phone (608.789.7510 – press 5) or email [email protected]. There is also a drop box outside city hall. The 142-page budget can be found by clicking here to see the agenda page or download the PDF here.

Kabat was proud how it came together, considering there’s still a pandemic to deal with.

Taxes will go up — 23-cents per $1,000 in property value, so they’ll likely be at $10.62 per $1,000, based on $150,000 average.

Total expenses proposed for next year: $56.7 million, plus another $12.8 million in debt services. Numbers similar to the 2020 operating budget.

“There is a slight increase, and part of our challenges with this budget was the impacts to revenues because we still expect to be dealing with COVID through, at least, a good chunk of next year,” Kabat said. “With what we had to deal with when it comes to maintaining levels of service and trying to plug a hole in the budget with lost revenues, I think it does an excellent job at that.”

The total operating expenses for 2021 will be around $57.6 million — down about $1.3 million from this year. There is an additional $12.8 million in debt services, bringing the total to $69.5 million — which is about $720,165 more than last year.

“We have a slight increase based on our debt service because we’re paying more debt next year as projects like the La Crosse Center and those start to come online,”

Kabat also discussed in more detail how roads will be addressed, along with how the public library will get back to normal, though it could take years.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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