Voter Turnout? I Don't Know
So does Lacrosse City Clerk, Teri Lehrke, expect a huge voter turnout? She really does not know. Maybe 30 percent? Lehrke says this is a hard one to predict.
Lehrke says she did order extra ballots for the spring election.....equal to what a 43 percent turnout would be. The City of Madison has ordered an extra 30 thousand ballots for Tuesday.
Cities Want Collective Bargaining Law Changes
Safe to say that Wisconsin's largest cities are less than thrilled about the state's new collective bargaining law. Leaders of 39 cities with populations over ten thousand--including La Crosse--are represented by the League of Municipalities, Urban Alliance. In a letter to the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance, the group is asking the legislature to make changes to the law. First change requested is to have police and fire unions bound by the same dictates regarding pay and benefit contributions. The Urban Alliance says its members will find it difficult to balance budgets if police and fire compensation is off the table. Further, the letter claims rifts among employee groups are already occurring because fire and police have been left out of restrictions in collective bargaining agreements. The letter from the Urban Alliance also asks the legislature to include transit workers in those exempted from limits on collective bargaining so federal funding sources for transit will not be in danger. Finally, the alliance wants clarifying language regarding wage adjustments so cities have the freedom to increase wages for non-represented employees beyond the consumer price index.
Water Rate Hike Could be Larger
After nine years of no water rate increase in the city of La Crosse, you'd almost expect a big rate hike to be coming.
And the city's not disappointing that expectation. The city council will vote on a rate boost next month that would increase the average home user's water bill by 32%. That's a bunch, agrees public works director Dale Hexom but the state's Public Service Commission would actually prefer a larger rate increase. He says the PSC wants water utilities to have enough cash flow so that extensive borrowing isn't required to keep water systems in good working order.
Potential Cuts Means Setting Priorities for Bus Service
The La Crosse bus service has a strong possibility of becoming a victim of budget cuts. Local budget cuts, state budget cuts, federal budget cuts. MTU board member and city councilman, Dick Swantz says that's a situation that calls for setting priorities. He says the board has directed transit management to focus on delivering services to the disabled, elderly and low income families should the service face significant cuts.
Swantz says the threat of losing massive amounts of federal funding for the bus system has largely passed, thanks to a new collective bargaining agreement with city transit workers.
Big Time Basketball Coming
The La Crosse Central Basketball Association will be hosting the 7th Grade Wisconsin State Invitational Championship Tournament to be held here in La Crosse on Saturday and Sunday. With over 95 teams coming to La Crosse, this tournament will draw over 5000 fans and family members to the community each day. Over 700 hotel rooms have been reserved by team members and their families.
The tournament brings the very best 7th grade teams from all around the state who have participated in the Great Northwest Basketball League. The league organizes weekly tournaments in local communities from December - March culminating in this by invitation only tournament.
The La Crosse Central Basketball Association has been chosen from among several communities to host this tournament each of the last 5 years in part because of their ability to host multiple sites and the cooperation they receive from the La Crosse School District, Viterbo, UWL, and the Boys and Girls Club. 17 courts and 6 different sites will be utilized almost non stop on Saturday and Sunday.