City of Rhinelander

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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.

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A donation will enable the unused skate park behind the Rhinelander police and fire building to once again open.

Many years ago, a skateboard park was built just off the downtown. The park at Phillip and Alban streets has sat idle for a time. At last night's city council meeting, council member Sherri Belliveau said  a citizen came forward with a donation...

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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.

WXPR

The Oneida county board has signed off on a plan to help the city of Rhinelander dispose of the hazardous Lindey Cleaners property downtown.

The former owners owe about $70,000 in back taxes, but the county was hesitant to foreclose because of the chemicals in the former dry cleaners. The city and county have reached agreement for the county to convey the property to the city, with the city paying 2014 fees.

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Rhinelander was selected as one of 49 communities across the U.S. as a national Earth Day recepient by the Department of Agriculture. As part of the designation, the city received a total of $3.7 million in grant and lower-interest loans to upgrade sewer and storm water systems.

USDA Rural Development State Director Stan Gruszynski presented Mayor Dick Johns with an award recognizing the city's initiative toward improving water quality...

Applying for a $1.6 million dollar federal grant was approved by the Rhinelander city council Monday night. But it left questions in the minds of some council members.

If approved by the feds, the grant would be the initial money to redo the underground infrastructure along Brown Street and downtown. The grant would be for 2016 and 2017, a year later than earlier sought.

While the matter had been in two committees, council members Alex Young and Steve Sauer both objected to the speed which the large project...potentially $9 million dollars...was going through council...

No decision on a controversial Community Based Residential Facility on West Phillip Street in Rhinelander.

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Temperatures have gotten warmer above the ground, but temperatures below ground is the concern as Rhinelander and Tomahawk residents are being asked to continue running their water to avoid freeze ups.

Rhinelander City Administrator Blaine Oborn says, for now, to continue running the pencil-sized stream of water...

".....the plan of the city is to keep it running. We're still thawing and wierd things happen when it thaws, so as a precautionary measure and to avoid further freezeups, we're still advising residents to continue running their water...."

A city of Rhinelander  alderperson has filed an open meetings complaint against the Rhinelander Tourism Marketing committee, otherwise known as the Room Tax committee.

Alex Young filed the complaint with the Oneida County District Attorney's office. In the complaint, Young says the committee is created by the council, and as such, falls under the Open Meetings law.

Young alleges the committee met April 2 without posting a timely notice it was going to meet. Unless an emergency, public meetings need to be posted at least 24 hours prior to meeting time.

Downtown Rhinelander, Inc.

Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. and the city are in the planning stages for a projected $8 million makeover of the streets and infrastructure downtown within two years. The first bit of funding for the effort might be coming in.

City Administrator Blaine Oborn said they've heard from the Department of Agriculture...

 

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  As part of a re-worked Rhinelander comprehensive plan, city officials soon will be asking citizens what they want to see for outdoor recreation. North Central Wisconsin Regional Commission planner Fred Heider says he asked the city for their recreational plans so they also could be put into the Oneida county recreational plan. He says city officials had a number of ideas...  

Downtown Rhinelander, Inc.

  Last week, the Rhinelander city council approved a $20,000 commitment to bolster an effort to help businesses downtown redo their facades. The money is contingent on another $60,000 state grant being available. The city is also planning a major utility upgrade down Brown Street in 2016. The street would also have a new look after construction. Downtown Rhinelander Incorporated Director Maggie Steffen says that group is working toward an eventual $250,000 program so downtown businesses can redo the front of their buildings if they choose...  

WXPR

  The city of Rhinelander would like to clean up the  former Lindey Cleaners in downtown Rhinelander and should they get ownership, they would like to remove the building. The city council voted Monday to authorize working toward a grant to build a parking lot on the site. The city could eventually get ownership of the property for back taxes through foreclosure.  The federal Environmental Protection Agency would like to remove solvents and underground tanks underneath the Stevens Street property. City Administrator Blaine Oborn gave an update...  

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As of Wednesday morning, the city of Rhinelander was running about 30 jobs behind as water pipes continue to freeze in the city.

The extended cold snap has caused many problems along some of the city water mains. Last week the city asked property owners to let their water trickle. But that amount proved to be not enough says Mayor Dick Johns...

 

Scott Akerman

Rhinelander water users are being asked to run their water 24/7 to prevent frozen pipes. 

Tim Kingman, Rhinelander Director of Public Works, says the city has been thawing out dozens of households every day. 

“At a certain point in time, we have to make some hard decisions here to let this water be run on a system wide basis.  The reason we do so is it’s the best economy we can get.”

Thawing out frozen pipes for hundreds of people is very expensive.    Running water constantly is also expensive, but still cheaper than the alternative. 

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