Next April, Rhinelander voters will see an advisory referendum whether the city should petition the legislature to become the next community with a Premier Resort Area Tax.
The question asks whether the city should levy one-half cent on a dollar sales tax on tourist-related items.
The money raised could only be used to upgrade infrastructure, namely city streets. The city could like to fix Lincoln Street from Oneida to Eisenhower Parkway, Stevens Street, Boyce Drive and Oneida Avenue, totaling some $2 million dollars.
City Administrator Blaine Oborn says Rhinelander is a draw for people from many areas, but city taxpayers pick up the brunt of tax burden..
".....Rhinelander provides services to a population far exceeding those being taxed within the city. The daytime population is nearly double the city's actual population. 14 thousand plus is our daytime population and our trade area is actually 10 times our population...."
The money generated in Rhinelander for the Oneida county sales tax does not go to the city of Rhinelander. Finance committee Chair Mark Pelletier says the city has zero in next year's budget for road repairs.
Pelletier thinks the visitors using the streets should help pay for their maintenance....
".....unless we can find grants that would pay for a portion(of the street repairs) the only way we are going to conceivably get those roads done in any sort of time frame will be to borrow for them. Which means the local taxpayers themselves and themselves alone will pay for (repairs)....."
Mayor Dick Johns told the council he backed the referendum and hoped the public would see it's merit for a city with a very tight budget. Eagle River has had a Premier Resort Area Tax since 2006. The legislature would have to approve the designation.