Senate and Assembly Holding Floor Sessions this Week
The Senate convenes tomorrow for its first floor session since June. The Senate's agenda for tomorrow includes final votes on the following bills affecting municipalities:

SB 60, Clarifying law relating to placement of sexually violent persons (SVP) on supervised release. Provides that when the temporary committee has selected a city, village, or town for the placement of an SVP, the chief executive officer of that city, village, or town, or his or her designee, shall become a member of the temporary committee. The League supports this bill. 

SB 71,  Providing state aid payments to counties and municipalities for certain special election costs. The League supports this bill.

SB 203, Authorizing municipalities to allow clerks or other officials/staff to issue operator's (bartenders's) licenses. The League supports this bill.

SB 266, Requiring municipalities that pay for health insurance premiums for its police officers, police chief, and EMS practitioners to continue to pay the premiums for the surviving spouse and dependent children of a police officer, police chief and EMS practitioner who dies in the line of duty. Requires the state to reimburse municipalities for the cost of extending health insurance. The League is neutral on this bill.  

AB 141, Clarifying that property tax payments mailed to the proper official are considered to be received on time if postmarked on or before the due date, regardless of when received. The bill also clarifies that if the due date is a Saturday or Sunday, the current five day grace period ends the following Friday. The League supports this bill.

AB 235, Creating a levy limit exception for communities receiving reduced utility aid payments when a power plant closes. The League supports this bill.

AB 285, Increasing the competitive bidding requirement for municipal public construction projects from $25,000 to $50,000 for non-road projects only. The League supports this bill.

The Assembly plans to meet on the floor on Thursday. The proposed agenda has not yet been released.
DOR Releases Computer and Video Service Provider Aid Estimates for 2020
Last week, the Department of Revenue (DOR) posted on its web site estimates of each community's video service provider and computer aid payments for 2020.

Video Service Provider Aid Background

  • Video service provider aid is based on the amounts reported to DOR on Form SL-310: Video Service Provider Report.
  • The aid is distributed to each municipality imposing the video service (cable) provider fee under sec. 66.0420(7), Wis. Stats.
  • The aid equals 0.5 percent of the gross receipts used to calculate the actual 2018 fee revenues received by the municipality (sec. 79.097(1)(a), Wis. Stats.)
  • The state will distribute this aid to each municipality on or before July 27, 2020 (sec. 79.097(3)(b), Wis. Stats.)
  • NOTE: The video service provider aid estimate is posted under "Shared Revenue" on DOR's web page here (scroll down).
  • Starting on January 1, 2020, the video service fee (percentage) imposed by a municipality must equal the percentage applied on December 31, 2018 less 0.5 percent (sec. 66.0420(7)(b)2m., Wis. Stats.)

Exempt Computer Aid Background

  • This program reimburses municipalities for lost revenues caused by the personal property tax exemptions for computers, cash registers , and fax machines.
  • For 2020 and each year thereafter, the state must pay each taxing jurisdiction an amount equal to the computer aid payment it received in July 2019.
  • The 2020 computer aid estimate is posted on DOR's website here (scroll down to exempt computer aid).
DOT Provides General Transportation Aid Estimates for 2020
Last week, DOT mailed to municipalities their general transportation aid (GTA) payment estimate for 2020. The GTA program helps cities, villages, and towns offset the costs of local road construction, maintenance, traffic enforcement, and other transportation related costs. The 2019-2021 state budget increased funding for the GTA program for cities, villages, and towns by $35 million or 10%. This increased the funding level from $348,639,300 to $383,503,200 for 2020 and thereafter. The mileage aid rate was also increased by 10% from $2,389 per mile to $2,628 per mile for calendar year 2020 and thereafter.

All cities and most villages receive their GTA payments under the share of cost formula. Almost all towns are paid GTA on the rate per highway mile basis. DOT is statutorily required to distribute GTA funds first to towns under the rate per mile component of the program. Then, the remainder is distributed to cities and most villages on a share of cost basis.

An individual community’s actual 2020 GTA payments will depend on application of the share of cost distribution formula. As a result, your payments may or may not increase from last year.
League's Fall Lobby Day is November 6
All municipal officials and staff are invited to participate in the League's fall Lobby Day on November 6. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with a legislative briefing provided by League staff before walking to the Capitol for legislative meetings. After Capitol visits we reconvene for lunch. The event concludes at 1:30. We'll provide you with handouts and all the information you need to talk with your state legislators about legislation affecting cities and villages.

Register for the November 6 Lobby Day here.
In the News

U.S. Cellular to bring 5G technology to Wisconsin and Iowa
Chicago-based U.S. Cellular announced today that customers in Wisconsin and Iowa will be the first to have access to its 5G network, providing them with faster wireless service.

“Iowa and Wisconsin are two of our largest markets and we’re excited to introduce 5G technology to customers in both urban and rural communities where other carriers have not,” said Michael S. Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer of U.S. Cellular. “Broader 5G coverage will provide our customers with even faster data connection speeds for a better experience when they do the things they love on their devices.”

Earlier this year, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill intended to help speed the introduction of 5G to the state. Read the article in the Biztimes here...

The voices at the table: female representation in Jefferson County government
“Tangibly, McFarland said, she can bring major change to Watertown and its outlook toward the future.

“Someone recently described our community as a sleepy community. We aren’t, you know; we are on the precipice of major change and we’re ready. And so I think proving that to ourselves was a benefit that came out of me,” McFarland said. “I bring a different lens to topics. Let’s create new things, have new programs. Let’s figure out a way to fund that. I mean, let’s think about things in a different way.” Read the article in the Daily Jefferson County Union... Comment on the article on the League's Facebook page...

Wages and overtime? Recognizing impairment due to CBD use?  Jerry discusses these and other Human Resource issues with Lisa Bergersen, Principal Attorney at EngageHR Law, Of Counsel at Buelow Vetter, Former HR Director, City of Pewaukee. Lisa is Jerry Deschane's guest on the League's Local Perspective.  Watch the Local Perspective here... Comment on the Facebook post .

#LocalGovMatters Podcast - Interviews with Wisconsin Community Media about what they do and their PEG legislation, plus drones and their use by law enforcement is the focus of the two latest #LocalGovMatters podcasts. Listen here... and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.
Be Inspired!
Register now for the League's 121st Annual Conference
October 23-25 in Green Bay
Details and Registration here

SB 452/ AB 498, Prohibiting Residential PACE (property assessed clean energy) Loans. Under this bill a political subdivision may only make a PACE program loan to, or enter into a loan repayment agreement with, an owner or a lessee of a property that is a residential property containing at least five dwelling units or a commercial property. By Rep. Allen (R-Waukesha) and Sen. Stroebel (R-Saukville). The League is neutral on this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.

No public hearings on municipal bills are scheduled for this week.