Rhinelander's City Administrator would like the city council to consider a revenue generator used by other communities with lots of tourists: a premier resort tax.
It's a local retail sales tax where the municipality may only use the proceeds to pay for infrastructure expenses within the municipality. Eagle River has a half of one percent premier resort tax.
Blaine Oborn says Rhinelander's problem is a high tax rate caused by fewer residences than comparable cities like Antigo and Merrill. He says Minocqua has a much higher tax base built around the many higher-priced lake homes. But, he says Rhinelander's jobs base and retail is much higher. The population grows each work day..
"....7,894 is our population. Our daytime population is 14,393 according to the census. Those are people that require services and and we have to have a larger police force and a larger fire department..."
Rhinelander has an expansive retail trade area, going 70 miles in each direction.
He says with less money than other communities but more services needed each day, the city is looking for ways to keep roads paved and plowed. He says tourism in the area equals one of the most well-known areas...
".....when you look at the impact of tourism, Vilas and Oneida counties...the amount of money spent from tourism, if you add the two counties together you equal what Door county is...."
Oborn says if Rhinelander adopted the premier resort tax, it could bring in between $300,000 and $800,000 to be used on infrastructure.