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.
MERRILL - When you live to be 100, you often often outlive your friends and even family members.
Lenore Ehlert, from Merrill, turned 100 years old on Wednesday.
"Well, actually, it doesn't feel much different, it's just another day," said Ehlert.
While celebrating that milestone, she found herself thinking of her husband who she lost 65 years ago.
Her husband, Merrill Police Captain, Elmer Krueger was shot and killed while on duty in July of 1952.
"July 19th and he died about three days later," said Ehlert.
Records from that time show an officer's death didn't lead to weeks of ceremonies and salutes like it does now.
"After the funeral, everything was just kind of forgotten," said Ehlert.
But decades later, it's not all forgotten. Merrill police officers, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and other first responders were all at the party to show that they were bonded for life after the tragedy years ago.
"It really is truly, that Lenore is part of our family," said Michael Caylor with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to law enforcement, Governor Scott Walker, Congressman Sean Duffy and Attorney General Brad Schimel all wrote Lenore letters wishing her a happy birthday.
"It's quite an honor and I know part of it is for my husband and his memory," said Ehlert.
Elmer's memory was seen all throughout Lenore's special day.
"Know that you're part of the law enforcement family. Elmer was a brother, most of us didn't know him, but he's a brother nonetheless," said Lincoln County Sheriff, Jeff Jaeger.
She was surrounded by friends and family helping her celebrate her 100 years.
"If we're all to live as old and to be as loved as yourself, what a wonderful world this is going to be," said Caylor.
When asked for advice on how to live to be 100, Lenore said to keep your mind and body active, and to eat good food.
EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's Natalie Decker signed with Venturini Motorsports earlier this spring.
When she became a part of the group, she noticed they did a lot of events with PADD, People Against Distracted Driving.
She got involved in that cause by bringing it back to Eagle River for the UTV/ATV Championships.
Her and her family took the annual scavenger hunt and turned it into an event to bring awareness to PADD
Decker thinks her young age can help make an impact on other young drivers.
"It's not like we're 21 yet and drinking and driving. That's another bad thing, but this is becoming even worse. I want to hit all the young kids that follow me, even on my Instagram or Facebook," said Decker.
Once Decker gets across the serious message of PADD, then comes the actual scavenger hunt.
The participants in the event had some funny challenges.
"They had to do crazy stuff like get a picture with a purple sock and a high heel, and all these crazy things and stop at all the bars across Eagle River," said Decker.
If you would like to learn more about PADD, follow the link below.
MILWAUKEE - MILWAUKEE (AP) â€" A federal appeals court says a Wisconsin man who was wrongly imprisoned for 23 years can sue the detective and two dentists he says conspired to frame him with bogus bite-mark evidence.
The Journal Sentinel reported that the full U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 6-4 in favor of Robert Lee Stinson, an outcome that reversed an earlier decision by a three-judge panel of the court.
PHILLIPS - Gospel, prayers, and reading from scripture are typical practices in many church services. But this week's Sunday service was a bit different for members of the First Presbyterian Church of Phillips.
The congregation got to spend Sunday morning at a church of their own for the first time in six years.
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