Rice Lake City Council voted Tuesday to eliminate the city’s quota for wine and beer sale licenses. 

Previously, the city had a quota of nine such licenses for entities that serve wine and beer. 

“It’s controlling competition. I think it’s a place where government has no business,” said Alderman Dan Genereau. 

All nine licenses had been in use before Old Southern BBQ—under construction in the Southridge Center—applied for a license. 

Alderman Mike Diercks said he was uncomfortable with having no quota, but ultimately voted in favor of the motion to eliminate the quota, as did the seven other Council members.

Alderman Dan Lawler said the Council will still consider each license applicant on an individual basis and can withhold licenses. 

Rice Lake’s quota had been well below that of comparable cities Ashland, Antigo, Rhinelander, Shawano, Portage and Tomah. 

The next lowest quota was Shawano with 22. Antigo and Tomah have no quotas. 

Current Class B license holders include:

• Aucencio Jacinto dba Casa Mexicana.

• Northern Star Theatre Company.

• Northfield Restaurant Corp. dba Pizza Hut.

• Hung Yenping, dba Mandarin

• C&H Food Service, Inc. dba Perkins Restaurant.

• Lake Buffet, Inc.

• Badger Brew.

• Brew House Coffee.

• Tokyo USA Inc.

Fire protection

The Council also approved an amendment to the City’s fire protection agreement with the Town of Rice Lake. 

The motion is to return raise the fee for fire protection, inspections and responding to vehicular accidents to 0.75 mills from 0.6 mills. 

The fee had been reduced from 0.75 mills to 0.6 mills in 2008 when the township took responsibility for inspections, but the state no longer authorizes the township to do so. The change comes because the township was incorrectly recognized as having its own fire department by the state.

The Town of Rice Lake does not have to contract with the City of Rice Lake for fire protection, but has few other options. 

“Rice Lake is sitting in the heart of the township. They would have a hard time contracting with someone else, but they could do it,” said fire chief Jim Resac. 

Other business/comment

City resident Duke Thurs spoke in opposition to a proposal in the city’s 2016 budget to borrow $391,500 to build a splash pad in Moon Lake Park. Splash pads feature various nozzles spraying water for children to play in.

Thurs said the city is funding something it wants over things it needs. 

“I hope you people will go back to your districts and find out if people are in favor of a new splash pad,” he said.

The funding for the splash pad was approved 4-3 in the Council’s budget deliberations, but the budget is not finalized. 

In other business the Council took the following actions:

• Approved a hazardous materials response agreement with the fire department assisting Barron County. 

• Approved increasing deductibles and premiums while reducing health savings account contributions for city employees’ health insurance plans, among other cost-saving measures. 

• Approved a tax license for Misty L. Hanson and a bartender license for Amber M. Bradley.

• Approved changing a November City Council meeting date from Tuesday, Nov. 24 to Thursday, Nov. 19.

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