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Rhinelander city administrator suggests city look for new ways to get moneySubmitted: 06/17/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's City Administrator thinks the city relies too much on property taxes. Blaine Oborn presented his findings to the City Council last week.

Taxpayers in Rhinelander pay a little more than $750 in property taxes on average each year.

In Antigo, taxpayers pay a little more than half of that, while Merrill residents pay more than $500 on average in property taxes. Both of those cities have almost double the taxable residential property compared to Rhinelander.

"We're overly dependent on property tax and we have low to moderate income people. We have a high daytime population. Our commercial industrial even though we have a strong base here, is not contributing enough to really bring that down," Oborn said.

He says government spending isn't the issue. The City of Rhinelander's spending is $95 per capita compared to Antigo's $115 and Merrill's $119 per capita.

Oborn says Oneida County collects nearly $4 million in sales tax each year. He believes half of that revenue comes from Rhinelander. But the city doesn't get any of that money.

Rhinelander accounts for more than 30% of all trade area sales.

"When you talk about trade area, our trade area goes into Vilas County and up into Upper Michigan, and then Forest County and the counties to the west of us, too," he explained.

Oborn believes the city should look at retail to draw in more money.

About 7,800 people live in Rhinelander. But during the day, there are more than 14,000 people in the city.

"During the daytime, our police and our fire get busier. Our roads get used a lot and so that has an impact on the services that we have to provide," Oborn said.

He believes the city could bring in more money by increasing fees.

One option the city's considering is having the fire department charge people involved in crashes.

He also thinks the city should consider a premier resort tax. That's an extra half cent tax charged at tourism-related businesses.

Oborn thinks it could bring in between $300,000 and $800,000. The extra money would be used to improve infrastructure in the city.

"If you go to a hardware store, they wouldn't have to charge the extra tax. But if you went to a department store or a sporting goods store, that's considered more tourism-related, then they would have to collect the half cent in sales tax," Oborn explained.

The Department of Revenue decides which businesses must charge the tax. The state legislature would have to approve the tax for Rhinelander.

Then it would most likely go to a referendum.

Lake Delton, Wisconsin Dells, Bayfield and Eagle River have Premier Resort Taxes.

You can see a chart of the revenue from the premier resort tax at the link below.

Related Weblinks:
Premier Resort Tax Distributions

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Fire engulfs Eagle River homeSubmitted: 02/20/2017

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EAGLE RIVER - Firefighters arrived to a home filled with flames earlier on Monday in Eagle River. It took three different fire departments to put out the fire.

It happened at a house on Highway 17 north of the Highway 45 junction. The emergency call came in just before 11 Monday morning. The Eagle River Fire Department was first on the scene.

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ASHLAND - Hearing your medical provider gasp usually doesn't mean anything good.  But Laura Christianson admits the first time she saw one of her hospital's newest piece of machinery it left her stunned.

"It literally took my breath away when I saw it move," Christianson said.

For five years, the radiologic technologist at Ashland Memorial Medical Center captured images of broken bones or torn muscles on machines -- some 16 years old -- often in separate rooms. That changed at MMC last fall.

"You set up an exam and all you have to do it pretty much just push a button and it moves to where you want it to move to," Christianson said.

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MINOCQUA - You can keep your pajamas on and stay barefoot to shop at one grocery store in the Northwoods.

The "Rosie" app on smartphones and online is changing how you shop.

You can order any food item at Save More Marketplace in Minocqua with a couple taps on your screen.

"I print the list you guys have chosen for the items you want," said in-store shopping expert Steph Coy.

She will load up the cart, checkout, then bag your items for delivery to your house or pick-up in store.

Save More Marketplace started using the shopping option in October.

"It's a convenience for customers who don't have the time. It is a convenience for customers who can't leave their home," said Save More Marketplace president Jim Gauden.

It costs a little extra; up to $5 if food is delivered to you.

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HAYWARD - Warm weather is forcing organizers to change the route of Saturday's American Birkebeiner ski race in northwestern Wisconsin.

As a result, the race will not finish in downtown Hayward this year.

The Birkie race course normally crosses Lake Hayward to get to downtown Hayward. But the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation said Monday the lake is no longer an option.

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PARK FALLS - Two weeks ago, St. Anthony's Catholic School in Park Falls said it needed a "miracle."

Without that financial miracle, the elementary and middle school couldn't make ends meet. It would have to close before next school year.

St. Anthony's didn't get that miracle. Last week, the Parish Pastoral Council recommended the school close for next year.

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CRANDON - Pet lovers may be pampering their pets a little extra Monday in honor of National Love Your Pet Day. Squeaky toys, dog treats, cat nip, and even doggie desserts are just a few ways people give their pets a little extra love on Love Your Pet Day.
But there are plenty of shelter dogs that could use a little extra care all the time. If you can't adopt Forest county humane Society president Jay Schaefer wants you to come play with the dogs and cats at the shelter. "It's a way for people to get over their pet fix, or if their renting an apartment, or their in a point in their life where they can't have pets right now," said Jay.
Jay invites anyone with a passion for animals to come out to walk, cuddle, feed and play with the dogs or cats in the shelter. "If they can't go out for a walk…they just want somebody to spend five minutes with them….and then you're like the Fairy godmother in a Disney movie," said Jay.Pet lovers may be pampering their pets a little extra Monday in honor of National Love Your Pet Day. Squeaky toys, dog treats, cat nip, and even doggie desserts are just a few ways people give their pets a little extra love on Love Your Pet Day.

But there are plenty of shelter dogs that could use a little extra care all the time. If you can't adopt Forest county humane Society president Jay Schaefer wants you to come play with the dogs and cats at the shelter. "It's a way for people to get over their pet fix, or if their renting an apartment, or their in a point in their life where they can't have pets right now," said Jay.

Jay invites anyone with a passion for animals to come out to walk, cuddle, feed and play with the dogs or cats in the shelter. "If they can't go out for a walk…they just want somebody to spend five minutes with them….and then you're like the Fairy godmother in a Disney movie," said Jay.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - This weekend many of us may have seen images of a pickup truck falling through the ice on Lake Michigan. Some trucks even fell through the ice in Wausau.

So, how safe is the ice in the Northwoods?

DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says this time of year the ice can melt fast, so anglers should be aware of it. He says it also depends on the lake.

"We've seen anywhere some still on the Rainbow Flowage 24 inches of ice out there this last weekend," Walz says. "A few other lakes we've seen it as thin as six inches of ice."

Walz said no one fell through the ice this weekend in the Northwoods.

No matter the temperature, even if it's below zero, it's never a guarantee that ice is safe.

"Just remember, it's never 100 percent safe out there," Walz said. "It's always at your own risk."
Walz said you should always fish with a partner for safety.

The last day ice shanties can be on lakes is March 19.

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