Council takes up contentious road project funded by special assessment

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Some Green Bay homeowners are facing a dilemma: pay tens of thousands of dollars for road repairs, or do without street maintenance.

These homeowners have been slapped with special assessment fees to cover the Hillcrest Drive Project.

The Green Bay City Council is meeting Tuesday to vote on the project.

Action 2 News spoke to homeowners who oppose the Hillcrest Drive Project. Lisa Sabin-Wilson says she was given only a few weeks notice--and a big bill.

"That was the night we learned our bill was $42,625," Sabin-Wilson says.

That price tag is why she's opposing the Hillcrest Drive Project.

"People usually plan for expenses like this. $42,000 is a home down payment, it's a luxury car. You plan and save for stuff like this, we didn't have that opportunity," she says.

Lisa is asking alderperson Jesse Brunette for help.

"Basically have special assessments near $42,000. I've heard $17,000, $10,000, $20,000 and the financial ramifications that would have on most families is extremely troubling," Brunette says.

If the project is denied, it is city policy to move it to the bottom of the priority list. There would be no maintenance on the road until the project is due.

"I know that seems a little mean spirited, that's not what this is," says Steve Grenier, Public Works Director.

At last week's meeting, some argued the road should at least be maintained because the residents pay taxes.

Grenier says he doesn't choose where tax money goes.

"If someone is asking where my tax money's going, well is it fair for someone on the far east side to continue to pump money into a street on the far west side that could have been fixed and not need maintenance for the next ten years when you had a chance to fix it? OK, there are arguments and counter arguments," Grenier says.

If the project gets scrapped, that's four months of planning gone to waste.

"We keep hearing not enough roads are getting done, and we bring forward a program that gets cut," Grenier says.

He says homeowners have been helping pay for road repairs for decades.

"It's definitely not personal, I get no enjoyment out of this whatsoever. We have an ordinance, I am obligated to enforce the ordinance the way that it is written," Grenier says.

Alder Brunette hopes to find a solution at Tuesday's meeting. Otherwise, he'll ask the council to deny the project.

"If those are our options, then yes, nobody down here wants to pay these bills. $43,000 is just our bill, $30,000 down the street. $28,000. These are life-altering amounts of money for people to come up with on such short notice," Sabin-Wilson says.

Action 2 News will be at the meeting and update this developing story.

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