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Green Bay increases property taxes while prolonging wheel tax discussion

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GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Unlike the previous five years, Green Bay's city council couldn't find a way to avoid a property tax increase.

“I would challenge anybody to go to any of our directors and tell them they're living beyond their means, that they've got too much equipment, they have too much staff, they're overpaid, I don't think anybody can do it,” said Joe Moore, an alderman.

With city employees promised pay raises, the council agreed upon a tax increase of 1.98%. It equals a $17 increase on a $100,000 home.

The budget vote was 9 to 3. The no votes were from Aldermen Andy Nicholson, John VanderLeest and Chris Wery.

“No one wants to raise taxes, but the time comes,” said Bill Galvin, an alderman.

Coming into the council meeting, it appeared property owners would see about a 2.5% increase. However, on a 7 to 5 vote, the council took an extra $220.000 from the city's general fund to keep the increase below 2%.

“This is not unusual,” said Guy Zima, an alderman. “That money is sitting in a big savings account and it's much more than we're required to have.”

“I think we have to do the responsible thing, even though it's going to hurt a little bit, it's going to hurt even more if we keep pushing this farther and farther down the road,” said Galvin.

One thing the council didn't pass with the budget is a wheel tax. However, Alderman Chris Wery submitted a $15-wheel tax proposal that he hopes to have passed by the end of the year.

Right now when roads are resurfaced in the city, property owners on that road pay the bill, which can be thousands of dollars apiece. Wery says his proposal would eliminate those special assessments and double road resurfacing work.

“Well I think that's the number one thing that all the aldermen here said: roads, roads, roads,” said Wery. “We need better roads. You've seen over the years, we've only done 1 1/2 percent of our roads. Cities around us are doing 3 to 4 percent. That has to end.”

The proposal is expected to be discussed on a committee level in two weeks.

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