Nobody’s to Blame, but Taxpayers Pay

Don’t you love how nobody is held responsible for a multi-million dollar mistake, but the taxpayers have to pay for it anyway?

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) — Brown County officials say county engineers made a multi-million-dollar mistake and now taxpayers are going to be paying more to help keep Green Bay Packaging in the area.

Green Bay Packaging announced in June it was investing $500 million in a new paper mill, which would more than double its production compared to its current 71-year-old mill.

In fast-track votes to start construction and keep the company from moving elsewhere, the state agreed to chip in $60 million in tax credits. The city of Green Bay agreed to $23 million in tax assistance and Brown County agreed to $5.3 million for a retention pond and a pipe between the mill and the sewerage district.

“In the end, piping couldn’t be run above ground,” said David Hemery, Brown County Corporation Counsel. “It had to go underground and it had to go deep underground, 18 to 20 feet.”

The extra cost of putting the pipe in ground and adding a lift station is about $6.5 million. Green Bay Packaging has agreed to pay $3.6 million for the lift station if the county covers the remaining $2.9 million.

“Complications happen,” said Patrick Evans, a Brown County Supervisor who is also running to be Green Bay’s next mayor. “It’s the county’s fault, so I mean what do you say? No, I’m not going to support this?”

Supervisor James Knieszel doesn’t blame the county’s engineers because he says they were given an unrealistic timeline to price out the work.