Sunday, September 11, 2022

Public participation time

There are several opportunities for us to participate in developing important plans for our community. Please take advantage if you can. If you can't attend specific meetings, you can always read the documents published for comment, and feed back via online forms or by emailing the appropriate departments and council members.

1. Every second Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets online to discuss improvements and plans for bike and ped infrastructure and policies. Often, this is a very important first step in pushing for protected bike lanes, improved sidewalks, better connections, safer intersections, and more. Check the agendas at their city web page. Read the September 13 agenda here.

2. A  Public Hearing regarding the Housing Authority of the City of La Crosse’s, PHA 2023 Annual Plan and the Five-Year 2023-2027 Capital Fund Program Plan is scheduled for Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. at Ping Manor, 1311 Badger Street.

The Public Hearing will be held for the following purpose:

Provide an opportunity for residents of the City of La Crosse, including LHA Residents and Non-Residents, to express their comments regarding LHA’s proposed PHA 2023 Annual Plan and the Five-Year 2023-2027 Capital Fund Program Plan.

Draft copies are available for review at the Housing Authority website, as well as at the Administrative Office, located at 1307 Badger Street, La Crosse, WI 54601. Office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to Noon and 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Written comments will be considered until October 1, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. CST.

The Housing Authority of the City of La Crosse will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, familial status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. 

Equal Housing Opportunity:

3. The City of La Crosse is updating Confluence, the City of La Crosse’s Comprehensive Plan via Forward La Crosse, a campaign to encourage public involvement in the planning process. The deadline to participate has been extended to September 30, 2022. 

There are FIVE WAYS to participate: 

BONUS: Take and post photos of your favorite (or least favorite) things in La Crosse and tag Forward La Crosse on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter utilizing the hashtag #MoveForwardLaCrosse and be entered in a prize drawing. Four participants will be randomly selected to receive a $25 Gift Card from Downtown Mainstreet Inc. valid at over 75 local businesses.

4. Have you read and commented on the city's Climate Action Plan yet? We are going to need a lot of people to understand why this plan is needed and to push for its adoption later this year. If you haven't read it yet, please do it this week!!

5. The La Crosse School District is planning an expensive change that will disadvantage many low-income and non-drivers families, increasing school-related vehicle miles traveled while the city is planning ways to reduce them. You may wish to attend their focus group sessions which are not opportunities for public input, but rather exercises in frustration for people who don't want this plan and so want some answers. (In fact, there have never been real public input sessions.) In this case, your participation is needed to ensure your family, neighbors, co-workers and others understand that this is important and should not be just a public rubber stamp of a bad plan that needs to go back to the drawing board. Email for more details.

On a related note, the City of La Crosse is finalizing its budget plan with no public input planned until the plan is complete. What good will it be to have input when you are finished? Public input may drive proposals for amendments, but with such an intricate plan, where changing one small thing here may unravel another important thing there, chances of those changes passing are relatively small.

If you sincerely want public input, it seems much better to offer those opportunities at the beginning of the process, not at the end. Put the bathroom in the floor plans, don't wait until the house is built and then stuff a forgotten bathroom into a closet.

If you know more about how city budgets work and could provide a post with some insight into this backward system and how best to make needed changes through public input, please email couleeprogressive at hotmail. 

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