Millions in relief funding from the federal government could help the city of La Crosse maintain services for the coming year.
The city council voted unanimously on the $67.5 million 2022 budget Monday night, deciding to opt out — for at least one year — from a statewide program to limit local government spending.
Mayor Mitch Reynolds said a number of spending cuts were made before a preliminary budget was discussed in October.
The October budget plan “included significant cuts to parks, streets, and public safety,” Reynolds said. “This provided us a minimal tax levy increase of about 2 percent and got us underneath the Expenditure Restraint Program (ERP).”
That program allows Wisconsin cities to withdraw from participation if needed.
Council member Scott Neumeister supported the idea of avoiding tax increases.
“We are taxed to death in La Crosse, Wisconsin,” Neumeister said. “That’s why we continue to lose residents to our surrounding cities.”
The federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds can be used to restore some jobs that were cut due to the pandemic, including three staffers from the public library, as well as other positions from the La Crosse Center.
No members of the public signed up to comment on the budget during Monday’s hearing at the Southside Neighborhood Center.