Green Bay takes funds from infrastructure to avoid raising property taxes

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – On the Monday before Election Day, City of Green Bay lawmakers deliberated over the 2017 budget—deciding in a measure that almost didn’t pass they wouldn’t be raising taxes.

The vote was 6-6, then the city’s mayor broke the tie.

The measure’s cost? One million dollars of excess stadium tax money previously earmarked for capital improvement projects and infrastructure, which will now get $2 million instead of $3 million.

The funds stem from the $5.5 million that came back to the city after the half cent stadium tax raised more money than was needed for renovations at Lambeau Field before it expired.

The budget included some new expenses, like a bucket truck for forestry, two additional fire fighters and a sworn officer for animal control.

“The budget that was proposed included some new services. Additional services,” said Mayor Jim Schmitt. “With that came a small tax increase and the council — with my approval — decided to apply some of the excess property tax money that we received from the state regarding the Lambeau Field sales tax to fill that budget hole. So there will be no tax increase to the residents of Green Bay.”

“This just puts a thumb in the dam, and they’re just hoping that next year they can pull it off again and I think that eventually, for me, it’s just a matter of sound practice,” said District 7 Alderman Randy Scannell. “You have an ongoing expense and then you need an ongoing way to pay for that expense.”

Taxes have not been raised for the City In Green Bay for five years. Those who wanted to raise taxes by two percent this year fear next year the increase could be three or four percent and people will not be prepared for that kind of expense.