The City of Rhinelander hasn't done it in the past, but they will now, following a vote this week by the city council.
City Administrator Daniel Guild told the council he has been asked to find new funding sources and he says he found one the city has not used.
Guild says the untapped revenue source permitted under state law is the Cable Franchise Fee. He says this type of franchise is similar to how a commercial franchise works...
"...In the State of Wisconsin the state issues a monopoly and a franchise of that monopoly to various cable TV providers to use public rights-of-way, public lands, to string cables, and fiber and materials to access those right of ways, rip up property, things like that, in order to provide and deliver those services to people in the community...."
As a consideration for that privilege and because it operates as a protected monopoly, the municipality is allowed to request up to five percent of the revenues of the cable provider that has that franchise.
In Rhinelander it is Spectrum or Charter.
Guild says the first step is to pass the ordinance then notify the Wisconsin Department of Revenue that they would be submitting an application that would be turned over to the local provider. The state would notify the company they would have to send a portion of their collected revenues to the city.
With no objections, the resolution passed.