Vice President Big Dreams LLC DBA The Salon Professional Academy
Wife Sue Kolve-Feehan
Children Amy Bublitz, Brandon Kolve and Cady Mattson
University of Minnesota 1992
Chain Development Manager Midwest Unilever 1996-2012
La Crosse County Supervisor District 3 2010-12
Chairman La Crosse County Republican Party 2011
1) Does the city of La Crosse need a city administrator, and would you support another effort to create that position?
A city administrator would be unaccountable to voters and taxpayers. Removing an administrator would require a super-majority vote of the council which is unlikely. I oppose creating this position. We need a stronger mayor.
2) The city has received frequent criticism for being overly generous with financial incentives for developers. What sort of incentives should be available from the city, if any? How does the city best create a hospitable business environment?
TIFs are a fact of life. Responsible use of TIFS is the issue. Many are unhappy about the TIFs that brought Logistics Health to La Crosse but without them LHI would now be in Onalaska. High taxes make attracting businesses difficult, TIFs are a tools to attract investment.
3) There are growing concerns La Crosse is experiencing a surge in crime, particularly drug-related crimes. How do you plan to deal with the increasing level of criminal activity?
Surging drug related crime will require more investment in law enforcement. The recent $50,000 the council spent for a third canine unit is an example of the increasing need. Parking ramps and other public facilities should have security cameras to deter and prosecute crime. I will meet with law enforcement officials to determine what additional needs they may have. After speaking with Sheriff Steve Helgeson I learned that we need more drug investigators at the state level and the county jail is overcrowded.
4) La Crosse's fire department is one of the most expensive in the state per capita to operate. Are you happy with the status quo in the department? What, if any, changes you would like to see in staffing, overtime use, equipment purchases or other expenses for the department?
The La Crosse fire department is indeed one of the most expensive in the state. I have talked to chief Greg Cleveland and he argues that this is due to our proximity to the river and special services La Crosse has available. Many people don’t understand why police, fire and EMTs all respond to 911 calls. The chief says it is due to liability issues, still I think people would like a better answer. I have also heard it suggested that we should eliminate one of the three firehouses. Not sure who is going to be willing to give up the one in their area. Volunteers?
5) A recent study of La Crosse neighborhoods details the challenges of some of the city's distressed areas. Do you see problems in La Crosse neighborhoods, and if so, how do you propose to remedy those problems?
No question high property taxes are driving people out of our city. Redevelopment programs can help but are really just a bandaid solution. We must lower property taxes to attract people back to city housing.
6) After years of steady increases, city taxpayers have recently experienced a string of little or no increase in the city's tax levy rate. Will you try to continue that trend, and how will you do it?
I will lead the effort to create budgets that keep taxes low. If we can reduce taxes by one percent annually, over time we can slowly improve our competitiveness. This is achievable if we have growth.
7) In the past year, city department heads have been given the authority to create new fees as they see fit. Should fees supplant and/or add to property taxes collected by the city? Are the fees that have been added in recent years excessive?
Fees are another form of taxation. Some fees make sense because the cost of providing services is linked to the people who use the service. Others are counter productive like a $50 fee to replace a window, it discourages home improvement. The silliest fee is the $20 fee for a fire pit. We need to grow our tax base not rely on increasing fees.
8) Recently, the La Crosse City Vision Foundation, with the blessings of the La Crosse police department, has announced a plan to raise nearly a half million dollars to install surveillance cameras in the downtown for use by police. Do you support the plan? Why or why not?
City Vision is well intentioned but wrong. We must consider people’s right to privacy. Installing cameras in public places like parking ramps and government buildings is ok because signs can be posted that alert people to the fact they are on camera. There is no expectation of privacy in these places. George Orwell would be freaking out over this proposal
9) Some have complained that the city council often seems to work against the current mayor rather than cooperating with him. How will you get the council to follow your agenda, if they're all opposed to it?
I will work to build relationships with department heads and council members.There will be times when the best result will be moderating the actions of the council.
10) What is the last book you read? What is the last movie you saw?
I have almost completed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize winning book “Team of Rivals”. This is the history of Abraham Lincoln’s campaign to be President and how he created his cabinet from his rivals to lead the US through the Civil War. The last movie I saw was Clint Eastwoods “Trouble with the Curve”. I loved it.