Green Bay City Council and Oneida Nation approve governance agreement

Green Bay and Oneida Nation agreement
Green Bay and Oneida Nation agreement(WBAY Staff)
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 11:44 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - For the first time in five years, the City of Green Bay and the Oneida Nation have established and intergovernmental agreement.

The council approved the agreement on a 9-3 vote after hours of discussion in both open and closed session on Tuesday.

The Oneida Business Committee approved the 10-year agreement at it’s meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“We felt pretty good about it, we spent some time, make sure we met with City of Green Bay officials to make sure everyone was comfortable with what was in it from our end anyway,” said Tehassi Hill, Chairman of the Oneida Nation.

The document outlines fees the tribe would pay the city to provide services such as garbage collection and street repair and maintenance on reservation lands that overlap the city limits.

It also allows the tribe to identify tribal lands within the city to be put back into federal trust.

Alder Jesse Brunette, who represents district 12 where the boundaries of the Oneida Reservation and the city limits overlap, wasn’t as comfortable with the agreement, and wanted more time for the city to hash out the details.

Alder Brunette says about 14% of the city limits are within reservation boundaries.

“I don’t understand the rush to get something approved tonight, I really don’t. We have to make sure it’s a good agreement that respects the tribe’s sovereignty but is also good for the taxpayers and residents of the City of Green Bay,” said Brunette.

Alder Brunette offered eight amendments to the document in closed session and again in open session, but were shot down by the council on a 7-5 vote, causing him to vote against the agreement.

“I’m against it, not because I don’t believe in a cooperative governance agreement, it’s the opposite. I want a cooperative governance agreement, but I think it needs to be right, I think this was a rush job and I’m not comfortable with it,” said Brunette.

“It’s also important for the public to recognize that 11 of our 12 alders saw really the meat of this agreement a year ago. So, to characterize this as rushing the agreement through its not at all accurate. The people who serve on this body have had, really, a great deal of time to take a look at this agreement and offer input,” said Mayor Eric Genrich.

Click here to see the agreement.

Members of the Brown County Tax Payers Association also opposed the agreement in a news release on Sunday.

“Transparency has been totally lacking in the development and consideration of the proposals.  Thousands of city residents live in the affected area and nothing has been done by the City to advise them of what is being proposed and to gather their views on the matter,” read the release.

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