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Our view: How should the county spend $23 million? Offer your ideas now

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Feedback is the breakfast of champions, and the leaders of La Crosse County government are seeking your feedback before making a very important decision.

We’ve heard all the complaints from citizens:

  • Government officials never listen.
  • Nobody cares about my opinion.
  • I don’t have a stake in how my tax dollars are spent.

Yes, we’ve heard the complaints and watched in dismay as a paltry percentage of registered voters actually vote in local elections. Very few people attend meetings of local government – even when Zoom has made it as easy and comfortable as your living-room couch.

You want to have a say in how your local government prioritizes spending?

Now’s your chance – and there’s no excuse not to participate.

It’s never been more important to be heard as part of the local democratic process.

And there’s a lot at stake.

La Crosse County has received $23 million as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

County officials want your feedback on the best ways of spending that money.

County Board Chair Monica Kruse says: “This is an opportunity to think big and make long-term investments in our community. If we get this right, we can have a positive impact on some of the biggest and most complex problems facing La Crosse County.”

County officials have already identified such potential spending priorities as sustainability, child care, housing, infrastructure and the economy.

They want the money to improve quality of life, equity and collaboration.

“This means we want input from diverse community members, we want to support projects that make La Crosse County more equitable, and we want to collaborate with local and regional partners to have the biggest impact,” Kruse said.

As a longtime champion of collaboration, we wonder whether local governments could pool funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to make an even bigger regional impact.

But what’s your idea?

Think big. That $23 million fund provides great opportunity for innovation and impact that could improve La Crosse County for years to come.

To make sure your voice is heard, complete the online survey at surveymonkey.com/r/countyarpa.

Please submit your feedback by Wednesday, Oct. 13.

The county had received 1,377 responses as of last Thursday – a decent start, but more feedback is needed.

The county has received half the $23 million. The rest will come next year.

The money needs to be obligated by the end of 2024.

Please take the time to share your thoughts and suggestions with La Crosse County leaders.

It’s a small price to pay for participating in local democracy.

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