Green Bay still has funds left over from Wis. Safe Voting Plan grants

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 10:47 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -We’re learning more about how the City of Green Bay used grant funds to provide safe elections in November amid the pandemic.

As we’ve reported, the City of Green Bay received a total of $1.6 million in grant funds from the Center of Tech and Civic Life.

The funds came in two installments, one for $1,093,400 and another for $522,200.

Alder Kathy Lefebvre requested a breakdown of how the money was used at the city’s finance committee meeting on Tuesday.

“Everything is above board, you know, everything is spent like it should be,” said Alder Lefebvre.

The six page expense sheet included items such as ballot drop boxes, hand sanitizer, face masks, election equipment and compensation for poll workers.

City staff says expenses are still being added to the document, there’s still some money left over.

“The remaining balance as of the 7th when I ran the report is about $795,000,” Diana Ellenbecker, the city’s finance director said.

Alder Lefevbre asked if the funds could be used to prepare for the spring elections.

“What we can do is, I already have an email basically saying, if you would like to use the funds and basically get a 6 month extension on the funds, you have to apply for that by the end of January,” said Celestine Jeffreys, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

Jeffreys says the extension would only apply to the first million dollar installment, which would leave just under $300,000.

Alder Brian Johnson asked if the remaining balance could be used to pay litigation costs.

As we reported, the Wisconsin Voters Alliance and seven of its members filed a federal lawsuit against five cities that received the grant; Green Bay, Racine, Madison, Milwaukee and Kenosha, claiming the funds violated federal election law.  A federal judge rejected the challenge.

Jeffreys says the remaining balance cannot be used to offset litigation costs.

Attorneys for the city say there is still pending litigation filed by the alliance in the Eastern District Court of Wisconsin against Green Bay and the four other municipalities that received grant funding.

“Collectively we worked to file a motion to dismiss and a reply for their temporary motion of injunction and now it’s just kind of in a holding pattern as we wait for Judge William Griesbach to decide the motion to dismiss,” said Assistant City Attorney, Lindsay Mather.

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.