Vice-President Big Dreams LLC dba The Salon Professional Academy
University of Minnesota 1992
Wife Sue Kolve-Feehan, children Amy Bublitz, Brandon Kolve and Cady Mattson
La Crosse County Supervisor 2010-12, Candidate Wisconsin State senate 2012
18 Years in the foodservice industry as a broker and manufacturer's representative
2011 Chairman La Crosse County Republican Party, 2009-2010 Vice-Chairman
I believe Public Safety is the top issue in this campaign. Our family has been personally affected in the last year by the murders of our neighbors Paul and AJ Petras and the robbery of our family cars while parked in our driveway. If our community is not safe we have failed at the most basic level.
While I served on the La Crosse County Board Sheriff Steve Helgeson briefed us on several occasions about the rise in drug related crimes in La Crosse County. He talked about a "heroin epidemic" in our county. These influences are coming from cities like Minneapolis and Chicago. In a more recent conversation with the sheriff he told me that our county jail is over capacity. The night before there were 15 prisoners sleeping on the floor. Many of the crimes are robberies and burglaries to support drug addictions.
Our law enforcement agencies will require more resources to meet these growing challenges. An example was the recent move of the La Crosse Common Council to use the reserve fund to provide $50,000 for a third canine unit to the La Crosse Police Department to investigate drug crimes.
As a member of the La Crosse Municipal Parking Utility I argued for security cameras in our parking ramps. I still believe we should place cameras in the ramps to deter crime. The City Vision organization has proposed placing nearly $500,000 for security cameras downtown. I would oppose government ownership of this system. At present private businesses cooperate with police to allow use of their security cameras to investigate crime. Perhaps City Vision could begin by placing cameras in parking ramps and other public buildings. They might also work with private businesses to help them purchase or upgrade security cameras.
High property taxes are another important issue in this campaign. They are driving people from our city. Taxes in La Crosse are on average 50% higher than surrounding communities. Last year the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance published a study of taxes in the 20 largest cities in Wisconsin. The study showed that our taxes had risen on average by 5.9% per year the study period ended in 2009. The average of the other 19 cities was less than 3%. Since then Mayor Matt Harter kept his pledge to hold down tax increases. That policy needs to continue.
I believe that taxes should not rise faster than peoples incomes. Social Security payments and wages rise about 2.5% per year on average. In addition to rising property values, property tax collections are increased by new development. This averages about 1.25% annually in La Crosse County.
We must focus on growing our tax base to keep property taxes in check. We have several properties that could provide opportunities for major development. The Mobil Oil site and the Old Holiday Inn site on Barron Island are examples. We should determine who in city government is responsible for engaging developers for these sites. We should also assign a time table to meet goals towards development. Lastly, we should hold people accountable if they don't meet these goals.
The three major ideas of my campaign are support for public safety, focus on development and growing our tax base and holding the line on property taxes. Ideally, if we can grow our tax base and control increases in spending we can also lower property taxes.
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