JFC Bumps Funding for Homeless Program and Improves Length of Service Awards for Volunteer Fire Fighters

Last week, the Legislature's budget writing committee continued preparing its version of the 2021-2023 state budget by passing a motion that included the following items of interest to municipalities:


  • Add $600,000 annually to the Housing Assistance Grant Program. The program is currently funded at $300,000 annually. The Governor had proposed increasing funding to $5 million annually.

  • Modify the homeless employment program to require municipalities to provide a match of at least $10,000, rather than $50,000 under current law. The program provides grants to municipalities to connect homeless individuals with permanent employment. The Governor had proposed repealing the program because municipalities had not been using it because the $50,000 match was so high. Instead of repealing the program, JFC reduced the match requirement to see if more municipalities would apply.

Volunteer Fire Fighters and EMT Length of Service Awards. Eliminate the statutory cap on the total amount provided each year by the Department of Administration for length-of-service awards for volunteer fire fighters, first responders, and emergency medical technicians. Re-estimate expenditures in 2022-23 by $36,200.

Read the full motion here.

The Joint Finance Committee meets again this Thursday. The agenda focuses on K-12 school funding, the Technical College System, and the UW System.

Governor Signs into Law Two Bills of Interest to Municipalities

Last week, Governor Evers signed into law the following two bills of interest to municipalities:

SB 52 (Act 33), Requiring that if an incumbent for local elected office files a notification of noncandidacy or fails to file a declaration of candidacy, the clerk with whom the candidacy is required to be filed must publish that fact on the clerk's office or government body's website or post it in at least three locations in the jurisdiction. This act first applies to the April 5, 2022, election. The League supported passage of this legislation.

SB 51 (Act 32), Makes several changes to requirements for a newspaper to qualify to receive compensation for publishing legal notices. The changes make it easier for non traditional daily newspapers to qualify as a municipality's official newspaper.. The League was neutral on this bill.

Senate Committee to Vote on Several Election Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform and Ethics is scheduled to vote on the following election bills:

SB 204, relating to absentee ballot applications, unsolicited mailing or transmission of absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots, canvassing absentee ballots, electronic voter registration. The League opposes this bill.

SB 205, relating to absentee voting in certain residential care facilities and retirement homes. The League opposes this bill.

SB 206, relating to status as an indefinitely confined voter for purposes of receiving absentee ballots automatically. The League opposes this bill.

SB 214, allowing early canvassing of absentee ballots on the Monday before an election, issuance of presidential ballots, combined polling places, timeline for sending or transmitting absentee ballots, and nomination papers for certain independent candidates. The League supports this bill.

Senator Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, the committee chair and a former county clerk, has voiced concerns about the first three bills as introduced by Sen. Stroebel. The Municipal Clerks Association is on record opposing the first two bills. Sen. Bernier plans to offer amendments addressing her concerns with the first three bills listed above.

ARPA Update

League staff has prepared an ARPA FAQ responding to question submitted to us by League members.

Read the League's ARPA FAQ here.

Other ARPA Resources
Note: Updated allocation amounts for each individual non-entitlement community are not yet available. The Treasury expects to provide further guidance on distributions to non-entitlement units in the coming days.

League Roundtable tomorrow on ARPA. Join us at noon on Tuesday, May 25, for a discussion on ARPA. Zoom Information for all League Roundtable calls.

It is not too late to TAKE ACTION on Shared Revenue

Adopt the Shared Revenue Resolution!
Over 65 communities have adopted the League's model shared revenue resolution. Thank you to the cities and villages that have adopted or have added the Shared Revenue Resolution to their agenda for consideration. If your municipality isn’t on the list, it is NOT TOO LATE to take action in support of long-term funding for police, fire, parks, etc. We have provided a sample resolution - League Shared Revenue Take Action Plan (Check to see if your municipality is on the list at the same link. Did we miss you? Email Gail Sumi.)