COMMUNITY UPDATE – Thanksgiving, Rekindle the Spirit, 2016 City Budget, American Heroes Café



Community Update – 2016 City Budget, Thanksgiving, Rekindle the Spirit 

Recap of 2016 Wisconsin Rapids budget

On November 17, 2015  the formal presentation and public hearing of the 2016 City of Wisconsin Rapids budget to the City Council for discussion and action was held. With the hard work and dedication of the city staff, a budget that encompasses our operations was presented. In accordance with state law on tax increases, the tax payer affect will be the smallest within our taxing authorities- State, School District, Technical College and County . The 2016 budget passed with a unanimous 8-0 vote.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 1.03.08 PMAfter a few years of being involved in the budget process, I have come to view our budget as an opportunity for our organization to set goals and work to achieve them. The 2016 budget has been prepared with the objective of no layoffs and no reduction in City services while addressing our needs in infrastructure, community development, public safety and overall well-being. It is a privilege to help guide our staff through this process. Much lies on the horizon for 2016 – challenges of which I am confident we can address and opportunity to make our city an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

I am mindful that you, just as I, are committed to putting the citizens of the City of Wisconsin Rapids first when making any and all budget considerations. I truly believe that this budget represents the best intentions of fulfilling my promise to do just that, while placing the most critical needs of our community in priority.

Rekindle the Spirit Holiday Lighting and Parade

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 12.59.37 PMTonight from 5:30-7:30 p.m. the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce will host our annual Rekindle the Spirit Holiday Parade and Celebration in downtown Wisconsin Rapids. It all begins with a lighting ceremony at Veteran’s Park @ 5:45pm. A parade to follow that begins in the Rapids Mall parking lot traveling across Grand Avenue bridge ending at 4th Street. Make your way to Hotel Mead after the parade for hot chocolate, cookies and a visit from Santa! I look forward to seeing you there!


Thanksgiving is a time when we offer thanks. A time when we sit down at our tables with those we love we not only reflect on what it means to be grateful, but also how we can give thanks by giving back to our community. The commitment, generosity, and compassion of the residents of Wisconsin Rapids who selflessly volunteer their time each day is truly something to be thankful for. In particular, I’d like to recognize those at St. Luke’s Church and its partners, as an example of our community’s outstanding local charitable organizations, who will ensure – for the 16th year- this Thanksgiving season that those in need will have a warm, home cooked meal to enjoy. I, myself will be volunteering for the Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day from Noon-1:30 p.m. at 2011 10Th Street South, Wisconsin Rapids, WI.  There is no charge for the meal.

Heroes Café

In honor of Veterans Day, I had the privilege of sharing time with some Central Wisconsin veterans, police officers and firefighters, at the American Heroes Café Central Wisconsin at the Lowell Senior Center.  Since September 23, the café has been a place for active and retired service people to get free coffee and donuts – and a way to connect with their brothers- and sisters-in-arms.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 10.20.50 AMBill Haack, who served in the U.S. Navy for some 20 years, brought this concept to our community from the original American Heroes Café in Kenosha. I was proud to talk with Bill and others about their experiences, and to learn how much this gathering point means to them.

May we salute every day of the year the brave men and women who help to ensure our freedom and safety!

Veterans Day programs from the area are filmed and produced by RCCA Media volunteers and their staff.

Veterans Day at the Wood County Courthouse

Veterans Day in Veterans Park in Wisconsin Rapids

Veterans Day activities in Port Edwards

Thank you for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Mayor Zach Vruwink