La Crosse City Council against utility permit fee increase

La Crosse’s City Council went against the recommendation from the Judiciary and Administration committee on Tuesday night, shooting down a proposal in to increase certain fees for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC permits.

That’s mostly due to the fact that the committee voted without having all of the information.

“The handout that was given at our fee committee was not given to the other members of the J & A, and that was wrong,” said Andrea Richmond, district 1’s representative.

Previously, the council formed a committee to compare La Crosse’s fee structure with other similar sized cities in the state.

It found that La Crosse’s fees were higher than those, even though it has been 10 years since they have been increased.

The committee recommended not increasing the fees.

Lacking those details, the J&A committee approved the fee increase with a 5-3 vote.

At Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, it was shot down with seven members voting in favor. Frank Formanek, representing district 13, still believes this is a good idea.

“With the economic downturn that we’ve been basically put under in the last couple of years, we’ve got to put the burden back on the user,” said Formanek.


But others, like District 15 Representative Doug Happel trust the committee findings.

“Once we make a decision to have a committee do some work, and they do quite a bit of work and come back to us, unless there’s a real compelling reason, my tendency is to accept their recommendation, which in this case is to deny,” said Happel.

A final decision will be made on Thursday.