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The La Crosse City Council backs away from a plan to spend 125-thousand dollars on a consultant to look at cost-cutting measures. Instead, the council is setting up a committee to decide whether a consultant is needed. Some members of the public portray the consultant idea as yet another council-driven attack on Mayor Matt Harter, who they argue was elected specifically to cut spending. Alderman Dick Swantz backs the consultant plan, and thinks the critics may not realize how complicated local government can be, claiming they view it as a 'Tinker-Toy set...simple stuff.'
The council voted unanimously to eliminate the funding proposal from the resolution, and approved the idea of a study committee with just one 'no' vote.
Is it a case of 'sour grapes'?
Not at all, says one of the men who brought an ethics complaint against La Crosse County administrator Steve O'Malley. Mike Tellier of the La Crosse Watchdog group says the state Government Accountability Board will be asked to weigh in on the accusations against O'Malley that were dismissed last week by the county ethics board.
O'Malley was criticized for using his county position to help La Crosse set up a city administrator's office. The idea was defeated in a spring referendum. Tellier expects the GAB request to be the last chapter of the O'Malley case.
Western Technical College's District Board has approved a resolution authorizing the college to place a public referendum on the November 6th ballot. Voters in 11 counties will be asked to approve a $79.8 million facilities referendum to fund six proposed capital facilities projects at Western.
Along with upgraded curriculum, improved scheduling, and increased energy efficiency, the goal of the facility improvements is to allow the college to increase capacity and better serve a growing and diverse student population.
Wisconsin state Senator Van Wanggaard said this morning he will not challenge his loss in last month’s recall election, effectively conceding the race to his Democratic rival. Wanggaard, a Republican, lost to John Lehman by 819 votes in the June 5th recall. Wanggaard demanded a recount, which affirmed his loss. He said the time was not right to file a lawsuit. But UW-L Political Professor, Joe Heim, sees things a bit differently.
Wanggaard said he will challenge Lehman for the seat when the term ends in 2014. The win hands Democrats their lone victory out of last month’s six recall elections, and gives them a 17-16 edge in the state Senate.
Governor Scott Walker issued a state of emergency in 42 central and southern counties which had either had abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions as of last week. Donna Gilson with the state's department of ag, trade and consumer protection.
It has not rained very much in this territory this summer, if at all. And Walker’s order allows farmers to get faster approval of permits to divert water from streams and lakes. It includes La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson, Vernon and Trempealeau counties.