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City approves major budget cuts; layoffs and furloughs expected

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CUTS

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - La Crosse's Common Council agreed to cut over $4 million from the budget to address the revenue shortfall due to COVID-19.

$4,473,577 worth of cuts from city departments and expenditures will help bring the shortfall deficit to $52,715.

The largest reductions come from the quality of life departments like Parks and Rec., libraries, and the La Crosse Center.

Mayor Tim Kabat said layoffs and furloughs are expected as department heads make their final decisions before next week.

"The departments are trying to minimize that as much as they possibly can, but there will, unfortunately, be some furloughs and reductions," said Kabat.

The common council did its best to preserve essential departments that involve city safety. Police Chief Shawn Kudron said the department will lose $100,000 from its budget. A hiring freeze is also in place for the two open officer spots at the police department.

Chief Kudron is still deciding on where the department will make their final cuts.

“We’re in the infant stages of assessing how that will impact the police department but understanding that our core responsibilities will not be impacted when it comes to serving our community,” said Chief Kudron.

Governor Evers plans to divvy up $200 million in CARES Act funding to local governments but Kabat says a majority of that will be used to cover COVID-19 related expenses like shield barriers, hand sanitizers, and masks.

Mayor Kabat said the decisions was tough to make but he's happy with adjustments to help avoid a recession.

"It’s really unfortunate to have to make those decisions but that’s the reality of what we’re facing,” said Mayor Kabat.

A final decision for each department is expected by next week. Mayor Kabat wants to have a new, solidified 2020 budget by the week of June 8.

Read more on the cuts below.


Mike Beiermeister

WXOW Weekend Anchor and Reporter

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