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A man and his dog head out for a walk this week on the La Crosse River Marsh trails. The forecast for this weekend from the National Weather Service calls for continued bitter cold in La Crosse. For more information, see the weather info on page A8.

2019 reporting change resulted in inaccurate tax flyer, city of La Crosse says

The city of La Crosse has issued an explanation behind a tax flyer that incorrectly stated tax rates for La Crosse County and the School District of La Crosse increased more than fourfold.

“Please know there were not errors in the data itself but errors in how it was presented and compared over the years shown, particularly as it relates to other taxing jurisdictions,” La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said in a letter to officials.

The annual tax flyer, which county and school district officials have taken to correct in recent days, misstated that the county’s tax levy increased by 21.41%, and the school district’s by 12.63%, while the city’s decreased.

The real tax levy rates between 2018 and 2021, as reported and confirmed by several officials, actually shows that the district decreased by 2.85%, and the county only increased by 4.63%.


La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat.

In its explanation, the city said that in 2019, it made a change to how it presents tax rates on its annual budget documents. The change was largely a housekeeping effort, made to conform with two documents the city files with the state annually.

But in creating its 2021 flyer, the city did not apply this change for years prior to 2019 for La Crosse County and the School District of La Crosse, accounting for the errors.

Reporting this data also neglected to consider that the city includes data from its tax increment districts to produce its annual tax collection estimate, while the county and school district do not.

“While this was a genuine effort to match those reports with our budget page, years prior to 2019 were not restated onto the same basis as 2019 for the other taxing jurisdictions,” Kabat said. “This resulted in skewed and inaccurate presentations when comparing data across years and across jurisdictions.”

The city said it would revise page six of its 2021 Operating Budget document, which can be viewed on the city’s website, but it did not indicate if a new flyer would be sent to residents clarifying the mistake.

WATCH NOW: Photos and video -- Rotary Lights: 2020 edition

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La Crosse recognized for housing response amid pandemic with state award

The city of La Crosse and La Crosse County have been recognized by state officials for work addressing housing and homelessness amid the pandemic.

Sen. Brad Pfaff, D-Onalaska, awarded La Crosse with the Public Service Award at the virtual Wisconsin Apartment Association Awards, after two local WAA landlords nominated the municipalities.

“Our La Crosse government at the city and countywide level have demonstrated tremendous resolve during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pfaff said in a statement after the award ceremony Wednesday.


Sen. Brad Pfaff represents the 32nd Senate District, which includes La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, and southern Monroe counties.

“La Crosse continues to set an example for the state of Wisconsin in good governance, and I commend their hard work,” he said.

Pamela Strittmater, president of the La Crosse Area Apartments Association, and Jeff Pralle of Great Rivers Apartment Association nominated the city and county. In a statement, they were nominated specifically for work in addressing homelessness and rent concerns during the pandemic.

“I nominated the city and county of La Crosse,” Strittmater said in her remarks, “because of the great partnership they have for working together to help those with housing insecurities in the city and county.

“By working together, we can accomplish so much,” she said.

Throughout the pandemic, the city and county have grappled with a number of housing crises, including funding food pantries, after school programs, emergency and quarantine shelter, rental assistance, contact tracing, home loan and small business assistance and more.

Most recently, the two groups have each continued funding projects such as rental assistance relief that help prevent homelessness, as well as adapting the community’s shelters, specifically creating new isolation shelter space for those experiencing homelessness that become exposed to COVID-19.


Viroqua High School senior Cale Anderson is a four-time WIAA state qualifier. He takes a 20-0 record and 162 career victories into the Division 3 152-pound bracket at Wausau East on Saturday.


Friends recall Roger LeGrand as optimistic, caring person
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Brent Smith will never forget the hearty welcome to La Crosse he received 43 years ago from Roger LeGrand.

“Roger was one of the first people I met when I came to La Crosse,” Smith said. “We hit it off immediately. He was such a welcoming person.”

LeGrand died Monday at the age of 75 and is being remembered for his community service and warm heart. He leaves behind a long list of professional accomplishments, volunteer work and close friends.

“Every day was a new adventure for Roger,” Smith said. “He was curious about people, places and ideas. You would cover a lot of ground when you talked to Roger.”

A native of Milwaukee, LeGrand began his La Crosse law practice in 1976 and pursued a legal career that included La Crosse County District Attorney, La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge and Family Court Commissioner.

“He believed part of public service was to be employed in jobs that served the public,” Smith said.

LeGrand was also deeply involved in volunteer work, including the La Crosse Community Foundation, La Crosse Public School Foundation, UW-La Crosse Foundation and Rotary Club.

Former La Crosse Tribune editor Rusty Cunningham said public service came naturally to LeGrand.

“While Roger was on all sorts of high-profile boards, he also was the guy who provided free legal help at the daytime homeless shelter for those in need — with no headlines or fanfare,” Cunningham said.

LeGrand had a passion for travel and learning about the world. Smith said nearly every conversation he had with LeGrand included something about where he had been or where he was planning to go.

LeGrand began seeing the world as a young man. He studied to be a priest in Northern Ireland before joining the Peace Corps, where he trained English teachers in India. He later became VISTA volunteer working with migrant workers in Florida, where he met his wife, Sondra. When LeGrand wasn’t traveling, his family kept in touch with the world by hosting international exchange students.

Smith said LeGrand had a strong interest in the lives of people in his own community. He described LeGrand as a “caring, passionate, optimistic person.”

“He would start up a conversation with people he had never met in his life, and 10 minutes later they felt like they were Roger’s friend,” Smith said. “He had a way of lifting people up. If you spent time with Roger, 99% percent of the time, you would come out feeling better.”

Smith said LeGrand was devoted to his family. He said LeGrand and his wife raised two daughters who embraced their parents’ ethic of community service.

Cunningham said LeGrand made every effort during the COVID-19 pandemic to stay in contact with his friends, and it was a commitment that extended to the end of his life. Cunningham recounted a meeting organized Jan. 16 by Smith to celebrate a personal milestone.

“Brent, Sheila (Garrity) and I stood in the parking lot at Eagle Crest South — in separate parking stalls, of course — with Roger last month to toast his 75th birthday,” Cunningham said. “It was our last tailgate together — a cold day with warm laughter. The 45 minutes went too quickly.”

From Tribune files: Life in the La Crosse area in the 1940s