Green Bay Mayor proposes tax increase to offset costs of pandemic

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:19 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay taxpayers can expect to see a slight increase in their property taxes next year. It’s part of Mayor Eric Genrich’s 2021 budget proposal.

“In order to maintain the commitment I’ve made to provide core city services and keep our citizens safe, I am requesting a three percent increase in the city’s mill rate,” said Genrich.

That means a property valued at $150,000 would pay an extra $43.50 annually in taxes compared to 2020.

The Mayor says a loss in revenue due to the pandemic is partially to blame for another tax increase. Property owners saw a 3.2 percent increase on their city tax bills this year.

“Specifically, hotel room tax and interest on income revenue losses account for nearly $850,000 and reduced revenue projections in 2021,” said Genrich.

The $112.4 million budget also adds more public safety personnel. They are the only positions being added to the city’s budget in 2021.

“This budget calls for the restoration of three public safety positions, two police officers and one firefighter,” said Genrich.

The firefighter position has been open for a year and the added police officers would bring the total number of people on the force to 187.

During Thursday’s virtual budget presentation, Alderman John Vanderleest asked if there was a way to avoid a tax increase to help out property owners already struggling from the impacts of the pandemic.

“Could we take any money from our general fund, let’s say a million dollars from our general fund, and offset some of this tax increase?” asked Vanderleest.

“Unfortunately, that’s what was done by past city councils a number of different times; taking money from the fund balance to balance the budget without raising taxes which has made it even more difficult for us in the current day. It’s built up that structural deficit and the bill has come due,” responded Mayor Genrich.

The city’s Joint Finance Committee will take up the Mayor’s budget proposal on Monday. It will go to the city council for approval on November 10.

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