Michael Brown - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Michael Brown

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Mike Brown Mike Brown

1)      Why did you choose to be mayor?

              I would like to be mayor in order to apply the skills that I have learned in nearly 30 years of being a small business owner. I believe this real-world experience will aid in solving La Crosse's problems.

2)  What do you consider to be the most important issues facing the city?

              One important issue facing the city is the high property tax combined with the city of La Crosse's median household income being only 70% of Wisconsin's average (according to 2010 census).  Another issue is the growing drug and gang presence here in La Crosse.

3)  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?

                La Crosse needs to develop city owned property to help alleviate the tax burden on individual property owners.

4)  Are there any city services/areas you would consider to be "off-limits" for cuts?

                Absolutely not.  I believe that the cuts necessary would be between a quarter and a half percent of total budgets.  And I will start with the mayor's budget to set an example.

5)  State restrictions limit the amount of revenue governments can generate through tax levy.  How would you suggest the city might raise additional revenue?

                I believe the additional revenues would come from the sale and development of city property as well as building property values through neighborhood revitalization.

6)  What, if any, would you do to expand the city's property tax base?

                As stated above I would develop the city owned property to take the burden off of the individual property owner.

7)  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?

                Yes there are times for incentive for development but we should be giving a hand not a hand-  out.  The interest of the taxpayer should be closely protected and monitored to make sure that all parts of the agreement are adhered to.

8)  How involved should the city be in housing rehabilitation efforts in its traditional neighborhoods?

                I believe the city should be very involved in the efforts to revitalize the neighborhoods.  It is a major priority.

9)  What can be done to alleviate parking problems the city?

                As entering the mayor position I am not pretending to have answers to all the city's problems.  I plan to work closely with the department heads and their expertise to find a solution to our parking problem.  I will also research what other cities have done to be successful in this area.

10)  In light of recent events, would you support adding to the police department, either in terms of staff or overtime?  If yes, how would you propose this to be funded?

                I look forward to working with the new police chief to come up with solutions to the increased drug and gang issues that face the La Crosse community.  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.

11)  What is your position on fire department staffing levels and overtime?

                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.

12)  Do you believe the city's main travel corridors need to be improved or expanded?  If yes, how would you suggest this to be accomplished?

                I do believe that they need to be improved but I believe there are more pressing issues to deal with first.  And the residents must be included in any decision that's done on this topic.

13)  What should be done to fill the vacant retail space in the Grand River Station?

                First of all if a business minded person like myself instead of a bureaucrat would have been mayor, the Grand River Station would never have been built.  La Crosse's downtown area already had so many empty store fronts that could have been utilized instead.  By adding this building it just added more empty store fronts.   I will work hard to find a solution to our downtown problems.

14) 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?

                        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.

15)  What would be the "boldest" move you would attempt to make as mayor if elected?

                The boldest move that I will make is to lower the budget so that it is under the previous year, without more fees or fines or cutting service that the taxpayers deserve.

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