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Thursday, December 27th, 2007 -- 11:57 AM

The Neillsville City Council discussed a possible motel room tax last night.

While no action was taken, there seemed to be support on the Common Council for the tax, and Mayor Diane Murphy?while frustrated by how the issue was raised by the Chamber of Commerce?indicated she wouldn't be opposed to a small room tax.

1st Ward alderman Chuck Glassbrenner said he thought a small tax?maybe $1 per room?could raise between $5,000 and $6,000. By statute, that money would have to be spent on tourism related items, possibly signs along major highways touting what Neillsville has to offer.

"You don't go anywhere without it," Glassbrenner said of the tax.

Council member Daniel Herbrand agreed. "It's going to happen, we just have to decide when," he noted.

Murphy said she was upset the Chamber of Commerce put the item in their newsletter just before Christmas and didn't include the owner of the Super 8 Motel, Tom Silbernagel, in their discussions.

She also mentioned the Super 8 Motel is for sale.

Murphy said the City and Chamber often duplicated promotional efforts, and that was a waste of money.

"I can't see putting taxes on people for needless spending," she said.

No action was taken, but there was a consensus to get the ball rolling by possibly getting a committee together to look at the issue.

Also last night, the Council directed the city attorney to draft a letter to the owner of the property at 211 Hewett Street. The home was gutted by fire in the fall and has been in a state of disrepair. The city's inspector found it to be a health hazard and structurally unsound. If nothing is done, the city may end up demolishing the building.

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