Press release courtesy: Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
WISCONSIN RAPIDS -- The City of Wisconsin Rapids strongly supports local businesses and recognizes their importance within the community. In response to the economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 virus, the City has created a grant program to assist small businesses with rental lease or mortgage payments for commercial property.
It is the purpose of the grant to assist a business in maintaining a storefront or office location during the implementation of the State’s ‘Safer at Home order.’
The application will be made available May 4th, 2020. The applications can be filled out online and via PDF copies at http://www.wisconsinrapidschamber.com/covid-19-emergency-grant. The grant administrator, consisting of City and Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce staff will review the application for completeness and compliance with the grant eligibility standards after the submission deadline in the order they were received.
In order to address the number of requests, the Common Council of the City of Wisconsin Rapids has placed the following criteria on those who are eligible for this emergency grant program.
1. Applicant must be a local, non-franchise business or non-profit organization, with 1-10 full-time equivalent employee(s) on as of March 17, 2020. Business entities must be Wisconsin organizations. Sole proprietorships may qualify if they meet all other requirements.
2. The applicant’s business must have been operating and open to the general public as of March 17, 2020 (institution of restriction of gatherings of 10 or more).
3. Because of the public purpose doctrine, not all non-profit organizations may be eligible for the grant program (Attachment – Powers of Municipalities).
4. The applicant must be in good standing at the time of application with the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the City of Wisconsin Rapids (if the applicant is the responsible party for the following, they must be current: real and personal property taxes, outstanding payments, potential judgments, licenses, fines, permit fees, or other amounts due to the City).
5. The applicant’s business must have a physical presence outside the home, within a bricks and mortar building and be located within the City limits.
6. At the time of application, the applicant must be in a state of total closure or be unable to operate one or more of the primary functions of its business. For example: a hair salon which is completely closed or a restaurant operating with curbside or take-out order. The closures or business restrictions must be a result of the State’s ‘Safer at Home Order’, and must have occurred on or after March 17, 2020.
7. The maximum grant is $1,500. All grant proceeds must be used for the following documented business expenses that became due on March 1, 2020, or later. Such grant proceeds shall only be used for the following, and may include reimbursement for previous payments, for the months of March, April, and May:
Documentation of mortgage or rent expenses paid or due must accompany the grant application (invoices, bills, receipts marked paid, and balance statements). FAILURE TO INCLUDE DOCUMENTATION WILL RESULT IN INELIGIBILITY.
8. The application form (without attachments) may be considered a public record. However, any financial attachments will be considered confidential and will not be considered a public record.
On April 30th, 2020, the Common Council authorized the amount of $100,000 from the City’s fund balance to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each grant recipient that qualifies will be offered up to $1,500 for eligible expenses outlined above.
If requests exceed available funding, grants will be awarded based on a random selection of eligible applications that meet the criteria in the program description. The program description, including eligibility requirements, and application will be made available May 4th, 2020 and the deadline to submit applications, including required supporting documentation is May 6th, 2020 at 4:30 PM.
This grant is being administered in partnership with the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.
Please contact the Chamber with questions:
Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 24, 2020)
Although Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill which provided an opportunity for the deferment of property taxes by counties and municipalities during the coronavirus pandemic, the Wood County Board of Supervisors must pass a resolution first, and then the City of Wisconsin Rapids must pass a resolution.
As of this date, the County has not adopted such a resolution, and therefore the City is unable, by state law, to defer payments or waive penalties and interest.
The City Council has indicated its willingness to pass a resolution if the County would do so, and the City Council has formally requested that the County consider such a resolution soon.
However, since Wood County and the City of Wisconsin Rapids have not adopted resolutions, tax installments will be due on the regularly scheduled date of Thursday, April 30. Penalties and interest for missed due payments will be assessed according to state law.
For more information, please contact the Finance Department at 715-421-8254.
(Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin | April 20, 2020 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)
After a recount process that took nearly five hours, vote totals which were reported on April 13 were confirmed by the City of Wisconsin Rapids Board of Canvassers today. On April 13, it was reported that Incumbent Vernon Verjinsky and Dean Veneman each received 213 votes for the office of District 2 Alderperson.
The tie vote total was broken that evening by a coin flip, which Veneman won. Verjinsky then requested a recount. Since the recount today did not change the vote totals, Veneman is the election winner.
“I would like to thank all of the election inspectors, tabulators, poll workers, and staff who assisted with this unprecedented election,” said City Clerk Jennifer Gossick. “I would also like to thank the voters for their patience and perseverance in exercising their right to vote during this challenging election.”
Wisconsin Rapids, WI – April showers bring May flowers and garage sales; however, this year per the Governor’s Safer at Home Order, garage sales, rummage sales, or any other out-of-home sales are not essential and are not allowable.
“Spring cleaning, organizing, and decluttering is a great way to relieve stress, but this year we may need to hang on to unwanted items for a little longer,“ said Sue Kunferman, Wood County Health Department Director and Health Officer.
Sales that would occur via an online platform and mailed would be allowable.
Safer at Home is working; in Wisconsin, initial projections show that without Safer at Home, there would be significantly more cases of COVID-19 and deaths associated with COVID-19. By staying home we are flattening the curve. Keep up the good work! Continue to stay at home except for essential travel, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and sanitize surfaces frequently touched by others.
If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, call 2-1-1 or text COVID-19 to 211-211. For up-to-date information, please visit the Wood County Health Department website and Facebook page.
Mayor Zachary Vruwink Calls on WI Legislature to Give Local Government Flexibility on Property Tax Deadlines
Dear Representative Krug and Senator Testin,
While most local government operations continue during this extraordinary time, I write to encourage you to work with your colleagues and call for the convening of a legislative session specific to providing relief to local governments in need of flexibility during this unprecedented time.
Like our State and Federal counterparts, Local governments are looking for ways to help those impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. One way we can offer residents financial flexibility is by extending the deadline for property tax installment payments.
The City of Wisconsin Rapids is among many municipalities in Wisconsin that collect property taxes in installments. These installment dates are set by local ordinance within the parameters of state statute 74.12. Unfortunately, 74.12(1)(a) only allows a municipality to make a change to its tax due dates if enacted by August 15 of the preceding year.
We continue to receive feedback from the community, citing concerns over financial conditions related to the pandemic, such as layoffs and loss of income; and businesses that are having to choose between paying their 2nd tax installment and paying their employees.
The IRS recently extended their deadline to file and pay federal income taxes, financial institutions are offering to help impacted customers, grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for at-risk populations, and many more are doing what they can to support the community through the challenges related to our public health emergency. With the legislature’s support, I know that municipalities can be part of the solution, supporting our communities through this crisis.
Thank you for your consideration. Please let me know how I can be of service to you as you navigate this request, as I know that this emergency legislation will support our community in rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zachary J. Vruwink