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Info Session On Premier Area Resort Tax Finds Concern


The Rhinelander city council got an earful from area business persons last night as the city held the first information session about a possible Premier Area Tax.

Three cities, including Eagle River and two villages in Wisconsin already have this tax. It allows the city to assess an extra one-half of one cent on a dollar for tourist related purchases.The money can only be used to improve infrastructure, like crumbling streets.

City Administrator Blaine Oborn outlined how the city is financially strapped, with no extra money available from the state to fix the problems. He says the city's population doubles each work day. He says 65 percent of the money generated will come from residents outside of Rhinelander. While the city needs to maintain the infrastructure, those commuters pay little to keep the infrastructure in repair.

Several business persons felt the additional tax would be another burden on taxpayers...


"....I live in the city limits. I already pay personal property tax. I already pay property tax, way the hell too high, my competitors that are just one block away, outside the city limits pay one-third the taxes I do..."

Another business person felt the additional tax would drive more business out of the city...


"....my main problem and issue is your taking your planning and try to get the downtown and small businesses back(the tax) will push them out of town...."


Oborn says this is one of the few avenues city's have to raise revenue. The city has pinpointed nearly $2 million worth of street repairs and no extra revenue to pay for them. Other business persons felt it would drive businesses outside the city. The city council approved putting an advisory referendum on the April ballot and will continue to hold informational sessions to outline the need. Should voters approve the tax, it's not automatically done. The city then would need to lobby the legislature to allow it.

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