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Wisconsin Rapids mostly drops city worker residency requirements

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU) - Milwaukee is not the only city unhappy with the state Legislature’s move to eliminate residency requirements for city employees. Wisconsin Rapids is another.

City Council members passed a new ordinance last week eliminating the need for city employees to live within 15 miles of the city’s limits except for emergency personnel. The new ordinance was to comply with the new state law, and to retain the control on how far away emergency personnel could be from the city. Without it, no city employee would have been required to live in or near Wisconsin Rapids. Many council members believe the state should stay out of the city’s business, and let local officials decide residency rules for employees.

The new state law is being challenged by Milwaukee, and some predict it will go to the Supreme Court before it’s settled. So far, the suit has not become a class action suit where several municipalities challenge the state together.

According to the new ordinance, Wisconsin Rapids emergency personnel required to live within 15 miles of the city includes sworn police and fire department personnel; wastewater employees; various public works and utilities personnel; and all department heads.

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