Green Bay leaders approve plan to "fast-track" stadium sales tax distribution

Alderman: we've been "spinning our wheels"
Posted at 10:33 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 23:33:47-04

Green BAY, WI -- City leaders are trying to fast-track a plan to distribute $4.2 million dollars to the community, which has been among the Green Bay Common Council's goals since last year.

Some aldermen say they've been sitting on excess stadium sales tax for too long, and some projects have been suffering due to the delays.
Tonight, the Finance Committee approved a plan creating a clear application process, with strict deadlines for any project hoping to get funding.
And there are several requests on the table--nearly 30--and possibly even more as of tonight that the Finance Committee has begun reviewing. They include funding for the Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Sanctuary, and Bay Beach swimming beach projects. 
$1.2 million has already been spent by the city to pay off loans, which leaders say saved taxpayers $200,000.
In the meantime, District 4 alderman Bill Galvin says too many good proposals have been put on hold, including some since January.
"Some of these projects need that money to get going, or to finish. Some don't need it that badly," explains Galvin. "A lot of them would really enhance this community." 
Galvin says the Council has been spinning its wheels for too long with money that isn't gaining much interest at all while sitting idle.
"Let's have a meeting, and some votes," says Galvin, "and let's decide where this money is going, and be done with it!" 
Tonight's vote makes it clear the criteria each proposal needs to meet--ranging from cost, to economic impact--in order to receive sales tax funds.
"We have to have a way of comparing it so we really know what we're looking at," says Galvin, "so we can make good, educated decisions." 
It also creates a new deadline of September 30th to submit a proposal, which Mary Beth Leopold says she appreciates.
"There wasn't a hard and fast criteria set as to how to apply," explains Leopold after the meeting, "or what would be accepted, what wouldn't be accepted."  
Leopold is the Executive Director of the Automobile Gallery in downtown Green Bay, and says she's working to develop a new mobile app for her gallery.
"Everybody's into that," exclaims Leopold, "and this could truly be that same type of application that would set us on the map." 
All of this still needs to be approved by the Common Council, which would happen in August.