Wheel Tax again heads to city council

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A contentious topic is taking center stage again in Green Bay, as the Wheel Tax moves forward to City Council.

The tax, that would cost $20 annually for Green Bay residents, would go toward repairing city streets.

Action 2 News has been following the winding road of the Wheel Tax for more than two years.

Alderperson Barb Dorff has spearheaded the proposal, hoping to eliminate special assessments, costly roadwork that residents are required to pay to repair their city streets.

Many versions of the Wheel Tax have come and gone, but so far none have passed Green Bay City Council.

On Wednesday, the Improvement and Services Committee heard Alderperson Dorff’s new and improved proposal – the same one that was written one year ago.

Under that proposal, Green Bay residents would be taxed the same $20 fee annually, to work on things like road resurfacing and pothole maintenance.

In all, that’s about 105,000 vehicles under the tax, adding up to $2.1 million tax dollars per year.

Some in Green Bay are concerned about the annual cost, and where their money will end up.

“My concern is it's going to go supplement the budget, in the black hole of government,” says County Board member Patrick Buckley. “And I don't think enough has been done to really look at our existing budget, to see how some of these roads can be fixed.”

Others are concerned about the $20 tax price.

Alderperson Dorff says bringing the Wheel Tax to less than $20 would not help city roads.

“It's not going to improve any additional roads,” she says, citing that currently only one percent of Green Bay roads are fixed annually. “So yes, we would eliminate Special Assessments, but that's all we would do. We wouldn't get ahead on fixing additional roads.”

Wednesday night, committee members could not agree on a motion for the Wheel Tax proposal.

It will continue on to City Council next Tuesday, without a recommendation from committee.