Week of August 27, 2018
Legal Alert: Public Records Requests Fees

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released a statement relating to the charges that an authority (i.e., a governmental entity having custody of a public record) may impose for locating and copying records pursuant to a public records request.  The DOJ's statement can be found here. 

As the DOJ indicates, an authority may charge a requester the "actual, necessary and direct costs" associated with copying and mailing the responsive records.  In addition, if the costs associated with location of the record(s) alone is $50 or more, those costs may be charged to the requester as well. 

The DOJ is encouraging all authorities (including counties) to review their current charges associated with responding to public records requests and, if necessary, modifying their fee schedule to ensure that requesters are charged only for those costs determined to be "actual, necessary and direct."
 
WCA's O'Connell Interviews Iowa Gubernatorial Candidates at ISAC Annual Conference  

WCA Executive Director Mark O'Connell was in Des Moines last week at the Iowa State Association of Counties Annual Conference, where he had the honor of interviewing incumbent Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and Democratic candidate Fred Hubbell.

"It was an honor to be asked by my colleague and good friend, Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) Executive Director Bill Peterson, to interview each candidate at the general session of the ISAC Annual Conference," said WCA Executive Director Mark D. O'Connell.  "It's always a pleasure to work with our counterparts in Iowa and I'm glad I was able to be a part of the program."
Dark Store Loophole Campaign Unveiled to Fight Tax Inequities 
 
When big box retailers and other commercial and manufacturing properties try to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by exploiting the "dark store loophole" or the "Walgreens loophole"-which together are known as the Dark Store Loopholes-it results in property tax increases for homeowners and small businesses.

Watch a newly released TrueScribe video which describes this issue here.

WCA has worked closely with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Towns Association on the Dark Store issue. Visit
WCA Annual Conference Fast Approaching!

The 2018 WCA Annual Conference is fast approaching and will be held September 23-25 in La Crosse County.   
 

Latest WCA Conference News:
On Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. there will be a Networking Session. Join your colleagues here after picking up your registration materials and network with county officials from across the state.   
 
Feel free to discuss the latest issues impacting counties, watch the Packer game, and/or just relax while your county board chair attends the WCA Annual Business Meeting.  For your convenience, food and beverages will be available for purchase.

If you have additional questions, please contact Cheryl Fleck,
WCA Marketing and Events Manager, at 866.404.2700.
Still Time to Join NACo's High Performance Leadership Academy! 

Special thanks to those who have enrolled individuals in NACo's new High Performance Leadership Academy, the 12-week ONLINE program to enable frontline county staff to achieve their fullest potential and become more effective leaders.
 
More than 100 professionals from dozens of counties have enrolled in the inaugural cohorts beginning on September 17. And there is still time to enroll.
 
The enrollment form includes information about the program, and here are some highlights that help convey how impactful this program has been to previous participants across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Learn more and enroll today, as time is running out! 
Milwaukee County Offers New Tool for Financing Energy Saving Upgrades with PACE 

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors last month approved (15-2) the County's participation in a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program to help Milwaukee County property owners finance the costs associated with energy saving upgrades
 
"By making PACE financing available and the renovation of older buildings more affordable, we can encourage building owners to invest in energy efficiency upgrades and contribute to economic growth in Milwaukee County," said Milwaukee County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.
 
"We are very pleased Milwaukee County has joined 31 other Wisconsin counties in making Property Assessed Clean Energy financing available countywide for commercial property owners.  PACE not only allows commercial property owners an affordable opportunity to finance energy efficiency projects, it also adds to the desired economic activity within the county," said Jon Hochkammer, Outreach Manager for the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Read the full media release here from the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.
Update to Community Development Block Grant Program
 
As you may be aware, the Community Development Block Grant Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDBG ED RLF) program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The State is provided federal funding for local communities to loan to businesses for certain economic development activities, in accordance with HUD regulations. Department of Administration's Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources (DEHCR) is responsible for administering this program.
 
After extensive discussions with HUD, DEHCR determined the best way to minimize risks for local communities and the State was to request a Substantial Amendment to implement CDBG-CLOSE. This program, if approved by HUD, will close all RLFs and ultimately allow money that was previously held in an RLF to return to a local community in the form of grant funding.

This program will provide regulatory and financial flexibility for communities while addressing the HUD's concerns regarding RLFs.
 
DEHCR submitted its Substantial Amendment request to HUD on August 3, 2018. A copy of DEHCR's submission can be found here.
 
By ending RLFs and having a grant program, communities will be able to better address local economic development needs and administer funding. WCA will keep membership updated regarding the approval status of the Substantial Amendment.
WCA Associate Members

The role and relationship of government with the private sector has changed in recent years. 

The creation of the WCA Associate Member Program is one more way WCA is reaching out to bring together the public and private sectors. 
IN THIS ISSUE
Legal Alert: Public Records Requests Fees
WCA's O'Connell in Iowa This Week Interviewing Gubernatorial Candidates at ISAC Annual Conference
Dark Store Loophold Campaign Unveiled; Watch Video!
WCA Annual Conference Fast Approaching!
Still Time to Join NACo's High Performance Leadership Academy
Milwaukee County Offers New Tooll fo Financing Energy Saving Upgrades wtih PACE
Updates to Community Development Block Grant Program
WCA Associate Members