Rhinelander City Council to consider sales tax ordinance; Resort tax backed by voters
By Kevin Boneske
Though Rhinelander city voters overwhelming approved enacting an extra half-percent sales tax on tourist-related goods when they went to the polls April 5, enactment of what’s known as a Premier Resort Area Tax starting the first of next year is yet to be a done deal.
At Tuesday’s Rhinelander Finance, Wage and Salary Committee meeting, city attorney Carrie Miljevich informed committee members that under state law a municipality has to pass an ordinance or a resolution declaring itself as a Premier Resort Area Tax community.
“When I looked at what the city passed in November of 2015, it was basically a resolution that said, ‘Let’s go to referendum on this,’ and then clarifying the ballot language on the bottom,” Miljevich said. “So I really think that didn’t kind of fit (the requirement in state law).”
Miljevich said she didn’t want to see Rhinelander get in a position in which the state could inform the city it doesn’t meet the requirement to enact the tax “because your resolution back in November of 2015 was really just to hold a referendum.”
After looking at what other communities with a Premier Resort Area Tax have done, Miljevich said “I figured it was easy enough to put this in our ordinances.”
She said the ordinance would up for two readings before the entire Rhinelander City Council at its May and June meetings and, upon a certified copy of the ordinance being provided to the state, 120 days would have to pass before implementing the tax, which the ordinance calls for beginning on Jan. 1.
On a voice vote, committee members approved forwarding the ordinance to the full city council, which will consider the measure for its first reading at Monday’s meeting.
Enactment of the Premier Resort Area Tax gained the favor of city voters as a means to help fund road improvements in Rhinelander.