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Paying more or not? Green Bay mayor presents city budget proposal

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-27 06:00:02-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Will Green Bay residents be paying more or not? Mayor Eric Genrich presented his budget proposal for the upcoming year at Titletown Brewing Co. Thursday night.

The mayor is proposing a budget of $132 million for next year, an increase of about $8.5 million compared to this year's budget. Included in his latest proposal is a slight tax rate increase.

"When you look at the increase in spending that people are seeing with this proposed budget, I think it's pretty modest," Genrich said.

Genrich's proposed city mill rate is $7.77 per $1,000 of property value. So, if a home is worth $300,000, the property tax is $2,331.

This year's mill rate is $7.58 per $1,000.

In his letter to Common Council members and taxpayers, the mayor said the city received more than $3 million in new state-shared revenue, allowing him to propose a budget that increases the tax levy by less than half the rate of inflation.

Data shows the U.S. inflation rate for September was 3.7 percent.

"When inflation occurs, our buying power is eroded," District 9 alderman Brian Johnson said.

Johnson, who heads Green Bay's finance committee, said the budget looks good on the surface.

"Of course, devils in the details," Johnson said. "We'll dig into it and we'll determine if there is different ways we can change the ways we fund some of our services."

The mayor is also proposing several new city positions, including in the police department's K9 and traffic units, and a new short-term rental inspections position.

The budget book also includes increased pay for city workers.

"We're hemorrhaging talent," Johnson said. "We're having a hard time recruiting replacement positions. If we don't address it head on, it's going to be a problem that continues to persist and impact services that we provide to our residents."

With a presidential race and other elections coming up in 2024, the mayor is proposing $520,000 be spent on elections. The city clerk tells NBC 26 that $376,000 of that is dedicated for poll worker salaries.

Documents show the city was budgeted for $218,000 on elections this year.

"Presidential elections garner a lot of support," Genrich said. "We want to make sure that we're well prepared to make sure that all of our residents who are eligible to vote have the opportunity to exercise that franchise."

The budget won't be official until it goes through a committee and is approved by the full city council. The council is expected to discuss and vote on it next month.