Posted at 2 p.m. on May 18, 2017
The Brillion News
GREEN BAY – Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach proposed re-instituting a half-percent county sales tax for six years and the investing the proceeds in infrastructure – including $60 million in county roads and facilities, $20 million in jail and mental health facilities, $20 million in county libraries and $15 million in a new exhibition hall to replace the aging Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, which would be torn down.
The new expo hall would be funded primarily with the metro room tax (85 percent), with the county sales tax picking up the rest of the project costs (15 percent).
On Wednesday evening, the Brown County Board of Supervisors voted 23-3 to adopt the plan. The tax will go into effect next January 1.
The vote came at the end of a three-hour debate.
Streckenbach made the proposal in his “State of the County” speech on May 2.
The Brown County Taxpayers Association was not on the bandwagon.
On May 10, it issued a letter directed to county board supervisors asking that the process be slowed down.
“[The] proposed financing plan is being advanced at a dangerously rapid speed and we oppose any Brown County Board vote – yea or nay – at its May 17th meeting,” the letter said.
The taxpayer group said 15 days is not enough time for supervisors to vote on the proposal responsibly.
The Streckenbach plan comes a year after the Brown County half-percent sales tax expired. It was passed by the state legislature to fund renovations and expansion at Lambeau Field and the stadium district.
The Taxpayers Association also questions whether the plan is legal because state law says: “The county sales and use taxes may be imposed only for the purpose of directly reducing the property tax levy…”
The taxpayers group said Streckenbach’s own documents show that only $21 million of the $147 million generated by the sales tax would actually go for property tax levy reduction.
There is no word yet on whether the taxpayers’ group will mount a legal challenge to the tax.