The La Crosse County Board’s month-to-month meeting Thursday night time won’t have merited a lot of a report, apart from one factor: It was the last to be held in the 51-year-old La Crosse Administrative Center.
County Administrator Steve O’Malley gave board members a rundown of the county’s appreciable accomplishments this yr, together with sustaining its Aa1 bond score and retaining the tax price flat at $three.89 per $1,000 in equalized property worth, even with $23 million value of downtown campus transforming and almost $18 million for constructing a brand new Lakeview Health Care campus in West Salem.
He touted the county’s debt administration technique that made it comparatively pain-free to perform the downtown campus tasks, which included buy and transforming of the previous Associated Bank constructing to function a brand new administrative middle, a 20,000-square foot addition and transforming on the Health and Human Services Building and completion of unfinished area on the Law Enforcement Center.
An extended record of different highlights for the yr included nationwide accreditation of the county’s Health Department, the launching of a veterans expo, and a banner first yr for the county’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which noticed a 10-to-1 return on funding in new housing improvement in La Crosse’s most impoverished areas.
O’Malley additionally touted the county’s persevering with rating as one of many lowest taxed counties in the state, with La Crosse County’s $285 per capita tax levy rating seventh lowest out of 72 counties. And, he added, La Crosse County is just one of two counties in the state that has ladies in the board chair and vice-chair roles.
“At some point in the distant future people will probably reflect on this county board in 2016 with amazement and wonder,” stated Board Chair Tara Johnson stated.
But none of this was actually too shocking or groundbreaking information. The most unprecedented a part of the agenda was Johnson’s reminder to board members to ensure to wash out their lockers — they wouldn’t be coming again.
One board member, Ralph Geary, had been coming to board conferences in the basement of the Administrative Center for 40 years. That’s as a board member, first elected in 1976. To him, the previous place looks like home, and he wasn’t positive how he was going to really feel concerning the new constructing.
The shifting course of started Tuesday and is predicted to be accomplished by the top of subsequent week.
Before the board meeting, in the foyer of the constructing, present and former officers and employees members mirrored on all that has gone on in the executive middle, which as soon as was home to all the county authorities – courtrooms, jails, sheriff’s division, well being division … every little thing.
Of course, it didn’t take as a lot to carry the well being division again in May 1965, when the constructing was devoted. Bob Taunt, the county’s former personnel director, famous that the county solely had one public well being nurse and one social employee.
Former Vernon County Judge Michael Rosborough was with the state public defenders workplace when the constructing opened and recalled that again then public defender had area in the early years in the basement throughout the corridor from the worker lounge.
“We spent many an hour in that lounge discussing current events and cases with judges, prosecutors and others,” Rosborough wrote in an e mail Assistant County Administrator Jane Klekamp learn on the farewell ceremony. “When the new courthouse was in the planning stages we were given the opportunity to request space therein; however, we had come to realize that all of the hobnobbing with judges and prosecutors created the appearance of a conflict of interest and therefore sought out separate quarters.”
County planner Charlie Handy reminded folks that earlier than the jail and courthouse have been moved throughout the road in 1997 to the brand new Law Enforcement Center, inmates was escorted down the hallways from the jail to the courtrooms and again, typically inflicting unease amongst individuals there on different enterprise.
The opening of the brand new administrative middle, constructed for a complete value of $1.2 million, was a really huge deal, involving a ceremony that took at the least 90 minutes, by O’Malley’s estimation. He dug up this system for the dedication, which occurred on Sunday, May 23, 1965, and was kicked off by a half-hour live performance by the Bangor High School band. Choirs from Logan and Central excessive faculties sang hymns, native pastors prayed and Gov. Warren Knowles gave the dedication keynote speech.
No such festivities are deliberate for the brand new administrative middle, though there might be an open home on Jan. 12 so individuals can examine the brand new seat of county authorities.
The previous administrative middle has been bought to Stizo Development, which plans to spend $10 million to renovate the constructing to create a scholar housing complicated that can be home to greater than 200 individuals.
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