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La Crosse Once Again Avoids Library Closures, Service Cuts

Budget Projection For 2015 Will Allow Room For Further Library Funding

One of La Crosse's two public library branches. Photo: Rochelle Hartman (CC-BY).

For the second year in a row, service cuts and a library branch closure will likely be avoided in La Crosse, thanks to a rosy city budget projection for 2015 that will allow the library to avoid an internal budget shortfall.

More than 250 people have turned out at two public hearings this month to speak out against service cuts or closures at the city’s two branch libraries.

Since one in five library users lives outside of the city, and it’s illegal to charge a special user fee, La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said he will ask La Crosse County to pay $219,000 in 2015 for an additional source of revenue.

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“It’s an inequity that we are facing in reality,” said Kabat. “In essence, if you’re using services, you should have to pay something for the services. That’s what the request is all about.”

Kabat said city officials need to continue to work on a long-term solution to the library’s funding dilemma. Costs at the La Crosse Public Library are considerably more per resident than comparable and even larger libraries in Wisconsin.

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