1) Does the city of La Crosse need a city administrator, and would you support another effort to create that position?
Absolutely not. The city administrator position would be chosen by the council not the people and La Crosse’s voters and taxpayers would be left out of deciding the direction the city should take. And that person would be very difficult to remove just like several employees that have recently been on payed leave for over six months.
2) The city has received frequent criticism for being overly generous with financial incentives for developers. What sort incentives should be available from the city, if any? How does the city best create a hospitable business environment?
I believe the city has to give incentives to be competitive with other communities. But they should be given a hand not a hand-out. The interest of the taxpayer should be closely protected and monitored to make sure all parts of the agreements are adhered to, but sometimes just treating small businesses like they are appreciated goes a long way . Remember that many of our largest employers started out as small businesses.
3) There are growing concerns that 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?
I plan to work closely with the police chief to come up with solutions for the increased drug and gang issues. I will challenge their department to do this without increasing the budget, but at the end of the day if it would take more staff I am not opposed to an increased budget.
4) La Crosse’s fire department is one of the most expensive in the state per capita to operate. Are you happy with the statis quo in the department? What if any, changes would you like to see in staffing, overtime use, equipment purchases or other expenses for the department?
I believe we have one of the finest fire departments in this state. With that said I would work closely with the La Crosse fire chief to determine a budget best suited for the city’s interests making sure that public safety is the main priority.
5) A recent study of La Crosse neighborhoods details the challenges of some of the cities distressed areas. Do you see problems in La Crosse neighborhoods, and if so how do you propose to remedy those problems?
I believe the revitalization of La Crosse’s neighborhoods should be a priority and in the best interest of La Crosse. I will challenge the planning department to hold community meetings on how best to accomplish this just like the excellent meeting they had with the Gunderson Lutheran Area recently. It was clear that the citizens in that area knew what they wanted and put their personal touches into the plans.
6) After years of steady increases city taxpayers have recently experienced a string of little or no increases in the city’s tax levy rate. Will you try to continue that trend and how will you do it?
I am running to fight for the taxpayers of this community. Any tax levy increases will be a last resort and I will strive to find ways to keep the tax levy rate flat.
7) In the past year city department heads have been given the authority to create new fees as they see fit. Should fees supplement and/or add to property taxes collected by the city? Are the fees that have been added in recent years excessive?
First of all I believe that all fees and fines must be approved by the council and mayor’s office. And I believe what they have done recently have been very excessive. I will fight any new fees that do not reduce the property tax burden on property owners.
8) Recently, the La Crosse City Vision Foundation, with the blessing 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?
I support the plan provided it is not used to monitor our citizens or be used for petty crimes. This proposal has come up at many alcohol safety committee meetings that I have attended regarding La Crosse’s river drownings. This would help deter crime in our historic downtown and help solve major crime as it did with the May’s Photo Shop murders.
9) Some have complained 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?
As the La Crosse City/Country Tavern League President I have collaborated with our 170 members, many of whom are strong-willed, in order to build consensus for a safer La Crosse. I will continue this management style as mayor of La Crosse.
10) What is the last book you read? What is the last movie you saw?
The last book I read was Smirnoff For The Soul a comedy written by Yakov Smirnoff. The last movie that I watched was Titanic (for the third time).