Municipal Levy Limit Worksheet Released

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) posted the following 2021 Municipal Levy Limit Worksheet (Form SL-202m) information on its website.
Form Information
Due date – December 15, 2021
  • Must electronically file (e-file) in My DOR Government Account
  • Use the worksheet as a tool during the budget process to determine your allowable levy limit before adopting a budget
  • Review the updated Municipal Levy Limit Worksheet Instructions before completing the e-file form
Law Change - Consumer Price Index
  • 2021 Wisconsin Act 1 – effective for December 2021 tax levies - see the Legislative Council Act Memo for more information.
  • The new law provides that the consumer price index (CPI) is calculated for the period September 1 to August 31 of the year of the levy
  • Previous law provided that CPI was calculated for the period October 1 to September 30
  • Used to determine if an increase in the levy is allowed for an increase in charges assessed by a joint fire department or joint emergency medical services district

Legislature Preparing for Fall Floor Sessions

There is a buzz back in the Capitol with many bills moving through the public hearing process in anticipation of September floor sessions in the Senate and the Assembly.

AB 399 - Last week, we reported on a League initiated bill that had a public hearing on August 25th in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate. AB 399, a bill the League worked with Rep. Brooks (R-Saukville) and Sen. Petrowski (R-Marathon) to have introduced, cleans up two inconsistencies in the statues dealing with the interest paid on property tax refunds.

  • The bill updates the method by which interest is calculated in the section of the statutes related to unlawful recovery of taxes to mirror the method utilized in the statute for challenging over assessments of property.

  • The bill also requires all taxing jurisdictions, including the county and the school district, to proportionately contribute to the cost of interest paid on property tax refunds.

The Assembly Housing Committee is scheduled to vote on AB 399 this week. We are hopeful the bill will be on the Assembly's docket for floor action in September.

Read the League's Testimony Here.

AB 483 - We also have discussed in previous Bulletins AB 483 related to municipal raze orders for certain insured dwellings. This bill had a number of issues the League identified that made the bill unworkable for cities and villages even though the bill as introduced was narrowed to only insured residential structures.

Thank you to Liz Majerus, Manitowoc Assistant City Attorney, who helped testify with the League in both the Assembly and Senate public hearings. Based on member feedback and testimony, we were able to advocate for a substitute amendment which will be voted on this afternoon in the Assembly Insurance Committee.

Thank you to Representative Steffen (R-Green Bay), Chair of the Insurance Committee and author of the substitute amendment for recognizing the municipal challenges associated with the original bill and working towards a successful resolution. Also thank you to the authors Representative Magnafici (R-Dresser) and Senator Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) for for supporting the substitute amendment which provides the following:

  • A reduced timeframe for insurance companies to provide notice that a structure is insured.
  • Appropriate and necessary information for municipalities to make a determination using policy data including the date of damage, insurance policy limits for the calculation, insurer's representative and contact information.
  • A statement that the bill does not preclude a repair order on these insured dwellings, and
  • A safety exclusion for structures in imminent danger of structural collapse.

League Webinar to Highlight Police Funding Challenges

State Limits Shrink Police Departments

One in three Wisconsin police departments had to reduce the number of sworn officers in 2019, as the one-two punch of levy limits and shrinking state support hammers local budgets. New research from the Wisconsin Policy Forum illustrates in sharp detail how communities across the state are struggling to maintain their police departments in the face of budgets that get tighter every year.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum looked at data comparing police budgets in 2018 and 2019 (the most recent data available). The data showed that both police and fire department budgets in roughly one-third of Wisconsin’s local governments shrank from one year to the next. The phenomenon occurred in all size communities throughout Wisconsin. First responders are feeling the pinch.

What’s a city or village to do? The League is hosting a special webinar for members, state policymakers and the media on Friday, September 17, to talk about that difficult question. Please join us for this important event. There is no charge. Use this link to provide your name and email and join this webinar:

  • 12:00 Welcome and introduction by League Executive Director Jerry Deschane
  • 12:05 Wisconsin Policy Forum reviews its findings and their implications for the future.
  • 12:35 A panel of local leaders discusses strategies for coping with these statewide budget challenges.
  • 1:00 Adjourn.