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Not enough votes from La Crosse County board for $500k dredging of Lake Neshonoc

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More than half of the La Crosse County Board would like to spend more money this summer to keep dredging a popular lake.

That, however, wasn’t enough Thursday to put $500,000 more into the ongoing dredging project at Lake Neshonoc in West Salem, Wis.

The spending plan needed a two-thirds majority to pass the 29-member board. It only got a bare 15-vote majority.

Jack Pogreba was among the supporters. He said more dredging might as well be done now, while crews are already removing dirt from the lake.

Pogreba said it would cost a little more now, “but if we come back in 20 years, it’s going to cost us 50% more to do the same job that they can do right now for that little bit more.”

County experts worry that increasingly frequent rains are causing erosion, which makes the lake fill up with silt faster than it should.

Opponents on the county board argued that $500,000 should be spent on other needs, such as helping French Island residents, who have PFAS-polluted wells or to help find shelter for the homeless.

In other board business, supervisors took votes on how they might spend an expected $23 million in federal pandemic relief.

The board weighed several areas of spending where money from the American Recovery Plan Act could go.

Supervisors voted to make sustainability their top priority for the relief money. Affordable housing came in second in their vote, followed by improving child care, and promoting local tourism.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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