Address: 423 Ninth St. S.
Occupation: Medical technologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hillsboro for 12 years.
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in medical technology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and aquatics biology from UW-La Crosse.
Family: Wife, Rita, two grown children
Past political experience: Ran unsuccessfully for District 7 council seat in 2009. Past chairman of the Washburn Neighborhood Association.
Why did you choose to run for mayor?
I want to be mayor because I know that I can make a difference in the city. I have been involved with city issues for a number of years as the chairman of the Washburn Neighborhood Association. I have the experience and a lot of enthusiasm.
What do you consider to be the most important issues facing the city?
I consider safety, economic development, and transparency to be the most important issues.
The past two years have seen significant reductions in state revenue to the city. What areas, if any, would you focus on for cuts to help control costs or potentially lower taxes?
We are owed a sizable sum of money in unpaid parking tickets and back taxes. Collecting these monies will reduce our dependence on state funding.
Are there any city services/areas you would consider to be “off-limits” for cuts?
All city services/areas are equally important. The question should not be “Who do we cut?” but “How can we make these services/areas more efficient?” Sometimes the people working within the departments have great ideas for making their departments more efficient.
State restrictions limit the amount of revenue governments can generate through the tax levy. How would you suggest the city might raise additional revenue?
The city can raise additional revenue through grants and developing collaborative relationships with neighboring cities and other organizations.
What, if anything, would you do to expand the city’s property tax base?
An increase in single-family home ownership would increase the property tax base. I would encourage home ownership within the city of La Crosse.
What do you see as the role of tax incremental financing districts in La Crosse? Should the city provide incentives for development? If yes, to what extent?
TIF financing is a valuable tool to create jobs and spur development, as long as there are standards that are applied uniformly for all applicants.
How involved should the city be in housing rehabilitation efforts in its traditional neighborhoods?
It is the city’s responsibility to prevent neighborhood decay and to help ensure that property values remain high. The city is already engaged in programs to improve our housing stock. The Western Technical College program to build new homes and the Paint and Fix-up program through the La Crosse Foundation are two good examples. We need to continue to support efforts such as these.
What can be done to alleviate parking problems in the city?
To alleviate parking problems, we can make sure all new building projects have adequate off-street parking, and improve public transportation. We can also encourage businesses to have their employees purchase permits for the parking ramps that are available to them.
In light of recent events, would you support adding to the police department, either in terms of staff or overtime? If yes, how would propose this be funded?
Bringing the police department up to full staffing would greatly reduce overtime expense and increase public safety. These positions can be funded by collecting unpaid monies owed to the city.
What is your position on fire department staffing levels and overtime?
Bringing the fire department up to full staffing will reduce overtime costs. We need to keep this department strong in order to maintain our fire rating, which impacts the cost of homeowners’ insurance.
Do you believe the city’s main travel corridors need to be improved or expanded? If yes, how would you suggest this be accomplished?
I do not believe we need a major expansion. More roads mean more traffic. Traffic congestion occurs two times a day, and is due to the large number of people coming into and leaving La Crosse. Encouraging alternatives such as Park and Ride, and working with employers to alter their shift start and end times would help this problem. Better synchronization of stoplights would also help.
What should be done to fill the vacant retail space in the Grand River Station?
To fill the vacant retail space, we can provide limited term incentives to new or expanding businesses to offset space rental costs. As the economy improves, we can expect to see the vacant spaces become filled.
The previous two mayors had some well-publicized clashes with the Common Council. What approach would you take as mayor to establish a working relationship with the council and city staff?
I have already worked with the city council and department heads on several projects and committees such as the Rental Inspection Committee and the Neighborhood Revitalization Commission. I have spoken many times before the council on issues affecting our neighborhoods, with positive results. I will focus on working with the council to solve problems and make this a better city.
What would be the “boldest” move you would attempt to make as mayor if elected?
My boldest move will be to increase the transparency and accessibility of City Hall. The budget format can be updated to make it easier for citizens to see and understand where their tax dollars are being spent. I would also have a monthly mayor’s forum to inform and involve residents.