Green Bay city council passes budget

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay's city council voted 7-5 to pass the 2020 city budget.

It's Mayor Eric Genrich's first budget, and while the council debated for several hours on where cuts could be made, ultimately very little was changed.

The council decided to leave one position in administrative services unfilled for 2020.

The budget includes a 3.2% tax increase, and taxpayers could also see an increase in storm sewer rates on their water bill.

"Do we do more harm by trying to save the taxpayers a few bucks or do we do more harm by not raising the taxes when we should?" Alderman Bill Galvin asked.

Before council started going through the various departments budgets, Alderwoman Barbara Dorff said more than $4 million was cut from the Mayor's original budget proposal before it was sent to committee.

City council members and the mayor alike have said this is a difficult budget.

Some of the burden has been passed on to taxpayers this year because of a previous budgets using one-time spending options to offset expenses.

"The strategy is to make up money through attrition as we have positions that are open, we can close the budget gap," said Alderman Jesse Brunette.

Alders discussed at length the importance of the diversity coordinator in the Human Resources department. It's a position Mayor Genrich has been vocal about adding to his staff.

Alderman Jesse Brunette argued against including it in this year's budget saying there are more important areas the city needs to put financing towards.

Many community members spoke in favor of the position, which was ultimately kept in.

There was also heavy discussion around how wheel tax dollars will be spent on road and infrastructure improvements.