Rhinelander room tax topic of debate as city requests 45 percent of revenue, law allows for 30 percentSubmitted: 12/04/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin

Rhinelander room tax topic of debate as city requests 45 percent of revenue, law allows for 30 percent
RHINELANDER - When Rhinelander's common council approved the city's 2020 budget Nov. 25, one item was left unresolved.

The city requested 45% of local room tax revenue but that may be against the law.

"I would like to reiterate, there's a state statute, a city ordinance and a contract that outlines room tax," said Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director Lauren Sacket at the Nov. 25 meeting.

Under Wisconsin law, a municipality can only keep 30% of room tax revenue.

The remaining revenue collected goes to the Rhinelander Tourism and Marketing Committee (RTMC). The committee also lays aside 8% of room tax funds specifically for city marketing.

Sackett said there's still time to change the budget and ways for the city to have more input on how RTMC money is used.

"You can tell us how you like the 8% to be spent and you can also know more about how we allocate the 70% of funds by filling the city's vacant seat [on RTMC] and having more than our mayor attending the meetings," said Sackett.

At the Nov. 25, city attorney Steve Sorenson said he believed the city could legally use the money. However, he called it a "policy decision" that's up to the common council to make.

The council decided to gather more information and take up the issue a later meeting.

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