GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt has vetoed a City Council-approved plan for spending on the Colburn Park Pool project.
“I have always supported a neighborhood aquatic facility using $3.5 million dollars of taxpayer money. However, the additional bonding and operating costs the Council approved on December 20 are not necessary, nor fiscally responsible at this time,” reads a statement from the mayor.
On Dec. 20th, the city council accepted the lowest bid, which still came in $2.3 million over what the city and private donors had raised, and voted 7-5 to use bonds to cover the difference.
Colburn Park has the only Olympic-size pool in the city, but it is old, leaking, and was becoming too costly to maintain. The city guaranteed $3.5 million if neighborhood supporters raised $1 million, and they succeeded.
The city didn’t receive any bids close to that amount, though. The city council could have killed the project or sent it out for bids again, but the council sent it back to the finance committee to find the money.
The finance committee said no to tapping into the excess stadium tax money, saying it didn’t want to take any more money away from infrastructure projects. It recommended using bonds over raising taxes or fees.
Those who support a new pool said they’re not concerned about the veto and said they believe a new pool is still on the horizon.
“I firmly believe this veto is going to be overridden because you’ll have some of the aldermen who might have voted against the project who feel strongly that the mayor shouldn’t be overriding council and they’ll join us and we’ll override this and just keep moving,” Alderman Chris Wery said.
Discussion about the pool is on the city council’s agenda at its next meeting, January 16.
Ald. Wery has asked the council president for a special meeting and hopes to discus the pool by next week.
Supporters only need to sway one alderperson to change his or her vote to “yes” to override the veto.