Spartans Chief Gone.....For Now
La Crosse Spartans general manager Chris Kokalis announced today that head coach Gilbert Brown will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team and his coaching duties to tend to personal and family matters.
Kokalis has named assistant coach Kyle Moore-Brown as the team’s interim head coach. Defensive coordinator Mitch Madland will take over duties as assistant head coach.
The Spartans are 2-2 heading into this Sunday's home game against Nebraska.
Voter Turnout? I Don't Know
Quite a bit at stake next Tuesday. City council, school board, 94th assembly and supreme court......all featured on ballots on election day.
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.
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.
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.