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NEWS STORIES

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

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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

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on whether past sexual relationships can be considered in rape casesSubmitted: 07/22/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled today on whether a prior sexual relationship can be considered in rape cases.

A Milwaukee man found guilty of rape challenged his conviction.

That's because the trial court refused to allow evidence that the man previously had consenual sex with the woman.

The Supreme Court decided it was proper to exclude that information at his trial under Wisconsin's rape shield law.

The court on Tuesday reversed an appeals court ruling that found in favor of the Milwaukee man.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court to rule on other issues raised in the case.

The man is serving a 10 year sentence for second degree sexual assault.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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Lawsuit challenging Obamacare thrown out by federal judge in WisconsinSubmitted: 07/22/2014

GREEN BAY - A federal judge in Green Bay throws out a lawsuit challenging Obamacare.

U. S. Senator Ron Johnson filed the lawsuit in January.

The Wisconsin republican argued members of congress received special treatment under the affordable care act -- in the form of subsidies.

Johnson claimed those regulations forced him to participate in something he believed was illegal.

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50-year-old airlifted after getting hit by car on HWY 51Submitted: 07/21/2014

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MINOCQUA - One person is in the hospital after getting hit by a car on Highway 51 in Minocqua Tuesday.

The person was eventually airlifted to St Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

It happened around 3 p.m. just north of the north loop in Minocqua.

50-year-old Pennae Biersach from Forest, Wisconsin was originally sent to Howard Young Medical Center after the crash.

There is no word on Biersach's condition.

Police are still investigating the crash.

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Police: Drunken 12-year-old taken to hospitalSubmitted: 07/21/2014

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WAUSAU - Wausau police say a drunken 12-year-old boy was taken to a hospital and kept overnight.

Lt. Mark Pankow says police were called to a Wausau home Saturday night after a neighbor of the boy reported he was intoxicated.

Pankow says a blood test at the hospital determined the boy's blood-alcohol level was ``well over'' the legal limit to drive, which is 0.08 percent in Wisconsin.

Pankow says the boy admitted drinking vodka, and told police he drinks alcohol ``about every three days or so.''

Investigators found empty alcohol containers in the boy's room. The boy was taken to a juvenile shelter after being released from the hospital.

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Former 'woman of the year' pleads no contest to felony chargesSubmitted: 07/21/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Last year's Eagle River "woman of the year" will soon be considered a convicted felon.

Monday, Michelle Albaugh pled no contest to a felony for stealing $16,000 from the Eagle River Jaycees.

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Hwy 51 lane closures by Minocqua bridgeSubmitted: 07/21/2014

MINOCQUA - Important news for folks heading to work, or summer camp. You'll need to plan for construction work on parts of Highway 51 if you're heading to Minocqua.

You can expect single, lane closures on northbound and southbound US 51. The Wisconsin DOT hopes all the work will be done by the end of the day on Thursday.

Those lane closures start at Country Club Road and go to West Park Avenue at Minocqua Lake.

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Man who spends summers in Northwoods invents first-of-its-kind CPR deviceSubmitted: 07/21/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - One in four Americans will need to perform CPR on someone. But 70% of those people feel helpless because they don't know what to do, according to the American Heart Association. Joe Hanson, a man who spends his summers in Eagle River, spent more than 45 years in the cardiovascular medical device industry. Over time he saw devices improve. But one thing that didn't was the survival rate of people who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest.

"2005, 2010 area, the American Heart Association and others started to look at the reason for that low survivability. And what they found was that people really hesitated to do CPR," Hanson explained.

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