RHINELANDER - Most city council meetings are fairly quiet.
But what brought Rhinelander residents out tonight was a battle that's become a common one in Wisconsin.
"Equal pay for equal work,"
That's what Union workers wanted to maintain at tonight's city council meeting in Rhinelander.
"We are going to be advocating that this is not how we entered this agreement in good faith," AFSCME staff representative, John Spiegelhoff said.
"Therefore we're advocating for the city to not go through with this ordinance change and to vote it down."
The city is looking for ways to save money.
One way is to lower the wage rate on new department of public works hires by four dollars an hour.
"Before you make the move to reduce four dollars an hour from the wages of people who do the type of work that are covered in the contract which is a tremendous cut in pay," said Rhinelander resident, Dennis O'Brien.
"It really would be fare and prudent at your part to review this more carefully."
A union rep says doing so won't just affect the department of public works.
"This is going to adversely affect labor relations within the city if it goes through," Spiegelhoff said.
"As well as the businesses that are going to be adversely affected."
But the city says it doesn't have more money to give.
"The words that I heard were we want more not less. There is no more." Rhinelander Alderman, Mark Pelletier said.
"If you look at the tax increase that the city has done in the past few years, there's not much capacity to raise taxes on our residents going forward, said Rhinelander Alderman, Alex Young.
"There just isn't money in the piggy bank to keep going the way we're going."
The council voted unanimously in favor of the decrease.
"All those in favor signify by saying "I" "EYE" votes opposed. Motion carried. Ordinance stands."
Young thinks the new wage rate is still a competitive rate.
This new proposal will not affect the current workers, only the new hires.
The Boulder Junction Town Board voted two to one Tuesday night to move forward with a town plaza plan. The plan will now go to a design phase.
The board estimated the cost of the design phase to be between $30,000 to $50,000, but it was dropped to about $25,000 at the meeting.
Town Chairman Dennis Reuss and Town Supervisor Dennis Duke voted in favor, with Town Supervisor Denny McGann voting against the plan.
A little more than $1 million may not seem like a lot of money to a city like Madison or Milwaukee. But for a town of fewer than one thousand people, it's a lot. The Boulder Junction Town Board could vote Tuesday whether or not to move onto the next phase of a $1.26 million town plaza project.
Dennis Duke has a vision of what Boulder Junction could look like in a few years.
"This one has a much more artistic flair, this has a more engineering flair if you will," said Duke while looking at potential design plans.
RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday. It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.
The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office. To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.
"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.
Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence. The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.
"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.
The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.
Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.
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