La Crosse County residents to pay less in property taxes as part of 2022 county budget

The budget includes addressing PFAS contamination on French Island and hiring more county employees

LA CROSSE COUNTY (WKBT) — If you’re a La Crosse County resident, you’re going to pay less in property taxes.

The county board made the change by approving next year’s budget.

About $170.8 million is set aside for next year’s budget, up from last year’s spending.

The budget includes addressing PFAS contamination on French Island and hiring more county employees.

But perhaps most important is that homeowners will pay less for county funding in their property tax bills, which also include school and municipal levies, among others

County officials say the 2022 spending plan is one of the best budgets they’ve ever put together.

“We addressed a lot of unmet needs, and still did it within very, small impact on the taxpayer,” County Administrator Steve O’Malley said.

O’Malley says taxpayers are saving 27 cents per $1,000 of property value.

The county’s property tax rate now ranks fifth-lowest throughout the entire state, he said.

“Your property tax bill for the county portion is less here than in any other county of similar size,” O’Malley said.

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The budget also emphasizes hiring more people in human and emergency services.

“It’s the first time we’ve been able to beef up and deal with some of the workload issues, and still stay within that low property tax change,” O’Malley said.

The Town of Campbell also is getting some help.

County board chair Monica Kruse says the county is setting aside $25,000 to address PFAS contamination.

It helps give the town some options on how to supply safe drinking water to residents.

“In the greater scheme of things, it’s a drop in the bucket,” Kruse said. “Down the line, there’s going to be a huge need for money for the Town of Campbell to deal with this problem.”

What’s not included in the budget? Nearly $23 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

That money will be used separately to address issues like homelessness and infrastructure, she said.

“I think it’ll start happening like in late winter/early spring that we’re actually going to start getting some money out,” Kruse said.

While the county will spend more, leaders say the taxpayers are getting fair treatment.

Also outlined in the budget, Kruse said the county has set aside $30,000 to hire legal help for people facing evictions.

And $75,000 is allocated to make improvements to the Onalaska Omni Center.

For 2023, O’Malley says because of the federal infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden is likely to sign, the county will budget more money for road and infrastructure improvements.

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