New Tax Could be Answer for Sturgeon Bay’s Crumbling Streets

Sturgeon Bay’s Common Council will consider the merits of using a Premier Resort Area Tax to fund improvements to its crumbling streets at Tuesday’s meeting.

The tax was recommended by the city’s Ad Hoc Committee on Funding for Local Streets and Infrastructure to speed up the lagging pace of street improvements. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout said the tax, a half-cent tax added to sales tax in the city, could generate more than $500,000 per year.

At present funding levels the city’s 67 miles of roads must last 50 – 60 years, about twice as long as city engineer Chad Shefchick recommended at a meeting July 11. The city estimates that replacing the roads at a 25 – 30 year interval will cost $620,000 annually. The city has struggled to fund street improvements since the state capped property levy increases in 2010. 

The city will need to request special legislation to enact a Premier Resort Area Tax, just as Lake Delton, Eagle River, and Rhinelander have done. That would come only if the council approves the tax, after which city voters would have to approve it at a special referendum April 4.

If approved, VanLieshout said the tax would likely go into effect in 2019.

Mayor Denies Historical Society’s Agenda Request

Mayor Thad Birmingham denied a request by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to give its presentation on its plans for the Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator on the agenda.

Though the council voted to deconstruct the structure at its Nov. 21 meeting, the historical society wanted to get a chance to show the council what it had in mind for the space if the city had accepted its offer of up to $1.4 million to stabilize and rehabilitate the building.


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