By Paul Schmitt
The Sturgeon Bay City Council could start moving forward Tuesday on a city half-percent sales tax to fund the cost of maintaining the city’s streets. The Ad Hoc Committee on Funding for Local Street Infrastructure is recommending the tax after considering a wheel tax. Agenda item number 10 for Tuesday’s meeting calls for a review of the final report and recommendations made by the committee. The sales tax would have to pass a referendum vote to authorize the tax. The earliest the vote could take place is next April’s election.
A request by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for an engineer’s presentations on a granary building proposal for Tuesday’s meeting was ignored, according to a press release by the organization. Consideration of the proposal was amended for the last meeting’s agenda but was removed due to a last-minute administrative error by the City. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting will start at noon on Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Link to City’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.
SBHS – Press release
SBHS denied by Mayor to present to Common Council for a 3rd time.
Mayor Thad Birmingham denied the request for a presentation by the SBHS for a third
time. The latest request, from two Alderpersons to have it added to Tuesday’s agenda
was ignored. “Although there is apparently no formal policy on requesting agenda
items,” Hauser stated, “the mayor has told me that it is his personal policy to respect
requests from the council. He has been true to this in the past. To say I’m disappointed
is an understatement.” As one of the council members requesting the SBHS
presentation, Laurel states, “I have city residents asking why the raze order doesn’t
include an option for repair and why a structural analysis has not been done. An historic
icon in our community is coming down in a rushed manner with very little information.”
Consideration of the proposal had been previously added to an amended Nov. 21
agenda and removed at the last minute because of an administrative error by the City.
The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society had engineers up from Green Bay in attendance,
they were not allowed to present their proposal. A motion by Alderperson David Ward
at the Nov. 21 meeting called for the dismantling and storing of the granary at taxpayer
expense. The motion passed on a 4-3 vote.
The preservation of the Granary has the support of the County Historian, George
Evenson, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center and
was listed on the State Inventory of Historic Properties in the 90’s (helping us become a
Mainstreet Community) and was officially listed on the State Register of Historic Places
SBHS is offering to pay for a current structural analysis of the Granary, provide
insurance coverage and fully restore the historic structure, using private funds not
taxpayer dollars. SBHS has also offered to pay to dismantle and remove the granary if
restoration on the site is not possible. Further, the group is offering to work with the City
to negotiate terms for a lease or purchase of the structure. The private funds were
confirmed by The Door County Community Foundation on October 25th announced that
the SBHS had received a gift of $1.25M to restore the building. The gift includes an
endowment for all future maintenance.
“We’ve done everything the City has asked of us and more. We are offering a 1.4 million
dollar investment into our community (with no cost to the taxpayers) and denied even
being heard. – SBHS board member Shawn Fairchild