Here is the slideshow that was presented at the Astor Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting. Presenter and City Planner, Stephanie Hummel, is hoping to set up a public meeting in April regarding the ordinance update. We will keep you posted on the time and location of this meeting. If you have any questions or comments on the presentation and proposed changes, please contact Stephanie at StephanieHu@greenbaywi.gov.
The solution to better roads in Green Bay is lined with potholes, taxes, assessments, speed bumps, bonding, and I believe Council fear of voter reaction in addressing this real problem we have. City roads total just over 400 miles. They are expected to last about 25 years before they need to be replaced. We currently replace about 2 percent of our roads each year, so we are replacing our roads about every 50 years. You can see why some of our roads are in such bad condition. Under those roads are sewer lines, storm sewer lines, water lines, and fiber optic cables, to name a few. The City currently assesses the roads on a rating scale of 0 to 10. When a road meets a set score, the road is scheduled for replacement. The planning that goes into replacing a road involves City engineers drawing up the plans, inspecting the infrastructure below the road to see if it needs repair or replacement while the road is being resurfaced, applying for any state or federal monies that can offset the costs, and seeking out best rates for the bonding. The roads are paid for by state and federal monies (if applicable), bonding (the City takes out a loan which the repaying of is part of the yearly budget including interest), and assessment to property owners based on the amount of street footage they have on the road. On average, the property assessments equal about one third of the total cost.
The complaints I get as an alderperson are: 1) the roads need to be fixed, 2) I do not want to pay the assessment, 3) don’t raise taxes or find the money in the budget. I think everyone agrees that the roads need to be replaced at a faster rate. I would like to see them replaced at rate of about 4 percent a year, so roughly doubling the amount of roads we currently do. It should be understood that if we did double the amount of roads we replace, we will need to hire about 2.5 more engineering staff to do the increased work to plan the road replacements. This would cost the City approximately an additional two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in salary and benefits. I can understand why people complain about assessments. For many it is a financial hardship that it is hard to plan for. I had one constituent call and tell me the assessment he received in the mail this week is about half of his monthly retirement income. The big question is how or where we find the money to get rid of assessments and increase the amount of roads we are replacing. I am not holding my breath waiting for the State or the federal government to help us out. After working on two City budgets, I can tell you we have a very lean budget and there is no fat to cut that could be used for this.
There are only three ways to get the money we need: 1) we make major cuts to personnel and programs. For example, if we cut the Community Police program, we would save about a million dollars. 2) Raise our tax levy, though we have to be careful not to go over the levy limit set by the state or we lose our state aid, and there would be no money for any other city programs. Even if we raise the levy the maximum amount, there are no guarantees that new alders or mayors will not take the increase and use it for something else. 3) We institute a new tax such as a wheel tax. The advantage of a wheel tax is that people with vehicles who use the roads pay the tax. The money generated by the tax by ordinance can be set in to a separate account and only used for road replacement. If enough money is generated, assessments can be done away with. The money can also be designated to hire the additional staff which keeps it off the general tax levy. If enough money is generated, we can also increase the number of roads replaced every year. The wheel tax, I feel, is a small amount every year instead of a large amount every 25 years for home owners to deal with. I will say, I have had constituents complain that a $15 to $25 dollar a year wheel tax is a financial hardship. I would ask if you want to pay a very little amount every year or pay upwards of thousands of dollars roughly every 25 years or more.
If you have any thoughts or ideas on this problem, I look forward to talking to you about it.
Alderman Bill Galvin
ALDERMAN DISTRICT FOUR
1244 Emilie St. 920-639-4640
Brown County Historical Society Presents: The Women of Early Green Bay:
March 10th; 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Join the Brown County Historical Society and Hazelwood Historic House as it hosts The Women of Early Green Bay: Afternoon Tea in celebration of Women’s History Month! Enjoy a light luncheon with savory and sweet treats, all served with old-fashioned flair. Then, meet four historic women of Green Bay and listen to their fascinating stories about life in early Wisconsin!
Cost: $22.00 per person
Advanced Reservation is required due to limited seating.
Astor Neighbors, it is once again time to for our Annual Wine Tasting party! This event has been held in our neighborhood for years, and we are proud to keep the tradition. This years homes will not disappoint! Our first home will provide exceptional hors d'oeuvres and white wine. Our second home, right next door, will also provide provisions and red wine. Both hosts have graciously offered their beautiful Astor homes and we are so appreciative. You will be able to see many exciting home updates. Our proceeds will go to Astor Neighborhood Association, to put towards the many events we host throughout the year, including Easter Egg Hunt, Back to School Picnic, If Homes Could Talk Historic Walk....
Please register today! Our event will be held Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 7:00pm. You can register by emailing Katiehoule@gmail.com, or call/text at 920-471-7867. Cost is $30 per person, or $55 per couple (after February 6, price will increase). Please help support our wonderful neighborhood association!
Also, we need some help! Do you have a business, or would you like to donate items to our silent auction or raffle? Or would you like to lend a helping hand as we prepare for this event? Please let us know! We appreciate any help you can provide!