The La Crosse County Board Executive Committee has approved a non-binding referendum for the April 5th ballot. The referendum will ask if the state of Wisconsin should establish a right to clean water.
Hundreds of wells in the Town of Campbell are contaminated with cancer causing PFAS from the use of firefighting foam at the City of La Crosse owned airport. Residents are being provided bottled water at a cost of about $500,000 per year by the State of Wisconsin.
La Crosse County’s response was to appropriate $10,000 to study the PFAS problem in the Town of Campbell. County Board Chairwoman Monica Kruse was quoted saying,
”The county probably doesn’t have the money to provide clean water for everyone.”
Seriously? The City of La Crosse and La Crosse County are receiving $45 million in federal aid through the American Rescue Plan Act. Still more federal money will flow from the $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill recently passed by Congress.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
County Supervisor Kevin Hoyer has suggested in the County’s Planning, Resources and Development Committee that the county spend some of the windfall of ARPA dollars on expanding the City of La Crosse sewer and water system into Campbell. Evidently such common sense is not a prevailing view in our county government.
Interestingly, according to Kruse the county is willing to spend $5,000 to place this pointless referendum on the April ballot. She also says she expects the referendum to pass. No kidding? People want clean water - what a surprise. Let’s save the $10,000 for a study. We don’t need more studies and referenda we need action.
Can ARPA dollars be spent to expand La Crosse sewer and water into Campbell? Here is exactly what the US Treasury Department website says about how ARPA can be spent.
Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet
Currently, plans by the city and county are to spend this windfall of dollars from the federal government on onetime feelgood projects that provide no lasting benefit to our community. Why not spend some of the money on infrastructure that will last for decades?
All twenty-nine County Supervisors are up for reelection on the April 5th ballot. Take the time to find out which candidates are serious about solving problems in our community and vote accordingly.