GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) After months of heated debate, it was anticipated that Green Bay City Council would make a decision on a proposal for a Walmart store in downtown Green Bay. Instead of moving things forward, Mayor Jim Schmitt pressed the pause button.
A vote by the city council on a request by Walmart to rezone the Larsen Green site has been delayed for one month. Mayor Schmitt, who cast the final vote, in fact decided the outcome.
Last week the City Plan Commission voted against Walmart's zoning request, needed for the retailer to build a supercenter on the Larsen Green property in the Broadway District.
Tuesday evening City Council President Tom DeWane, made a motion to delay any action on that request for one month to give Alderman Tom Sladek - who is recovering from a stroke and who remains absent from council - more time to heal so he too can vote on the issue.
After some debate by council, a vote on the motion ended in a 5-5 tie. Mayor Schmitt held the tie-breaking vote and went along with the delay - saying Sladek deserves the chance to participate.
"Alderman Sladek has a legitimate excuse," said Schmitt before making his deciding vote. "The man suffered a stroke, thank God he's alive, we swore him in at the hospital, I've talked to a lot of his constituents, believe it or not - I would do this for any alderman here."
"We appreciate the decision of the council and look forward to the next meeting," was the only reaction from Walmart spokesperson Lisa Nelson.
The mayor - who's publicly stated many times he's against the Walmart proposal - said it would have been wrong to push the issue through Tuesday without Sladek's voice being heard in the debate.
Therefore, the vote on Walmart's zoning request is delayed for another 30 days, expected to come up at the city council meeting July 15.