Last week, the Legislature's budget writing committee voted 11-4 along party lines to reject the 2% ($15 million) increase in shared revenue funding that was recommended by Governor Evers.

The vote was consistent with how the Legislature has treated shared revenue during the last 8 years.

  • Since 2000, the program on the municipal side has been cut by $94 million.
  • Funding for shared revenue program is 20% less today than in 2003.
  • Since 2011, local government revenues (state aid plus property taxes) have not kept up with inflation.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology, and Consumer Protection voted unanimously to recommend passage of SB 105, the Fair Dealership bill the League worked with Sen. LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Rep. Steffen (R-Howard) to introduce.

The Fair Dealership Law was designed to protect the economic interests of "dealers" (franchisees) against unfair treatment or practices by the "grantors" of the dealership or franchise. In 2017, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled for the first time that a municipality's contractual relationship with a private contractor was covered by the law. The court concluded that four golf professionals who had managed the City of Madison's golf courses could maintain their lawsuit against the City for $1.8 million in damages over claims their contracts with the City were terminated without good cause and adequate notice in violation of the Fair Dealership Law.

Needless to say, the 2017 court decision negatively impacts the ability of all cities and villages to privatize service delivery and to make decisions to end contractual relationships to improve efficiencies and cost savings that benefit taxpayers.

SB 105 exempts local governments from the Fair Dealership law.
Recently, the following two bills the League supports were enacted into law:

SB 113 ( Act 2 ), Notice to Owners of Agricultural Land about Change in Assessed Value. Creates an exception to the current requirement that an assessor notify a taxpayer when the taxpayer’s property is assessed at a different total than the prior year. Under the act, an assessor is not required to provide notice of a change in assessment if the assessed land is classified as agricultural land for the current and prior year and the difference between the
assessments is $500 or less. Effective date: May 3, 2019.

SB 4 ( Act 5), Types of Motor Vehicle Immobilization Devices Municipalities May Use. Allows municipalities to use the following immobilization devices to immobilize either an unregistered motor vehicle or a motor vehicle owned by a habitual parking violator:
(1) a “boot;” and (2) a device that immobilizes a motor vehicle by being placed upon the front windshield to obstruct the driver’s view through the windshield. The Act also authorizes a local government to enter into a contract with a person for the placement and removal of an immobilization device on an unregistered motor vehicle.  Effective date: May 5, 2019.
The League supports Governor Evers' transportation investment and spending proposals in his state budget.

His recommendations include:

  • General Transportation Aids. The Governor recommends increasing general transportation aids by 10% to $383,503,200 for municipalities beginning in calendar year 2020. The Governor also recommends increasing the mileage aid payment for towns by 10 percent to $2,628. 
  • Transit Operation Aids. The Governor recommends increasing general transit aids by 10 percent above 2019 program levels.
  • Transit Capital Assistance. The Governor recommends creating a transit capital assistance program to aid in the replacement of buses and funding the program at $10 million annually.
  • LRIP. The Governor recommends increasing funding for entitlement and discretionary grants in the Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) by 2 percent in FY20 and 2 percent again in FY21. Discretionary grants to be allocated as follows: (a) counties - $5,569,400 in FY20 and $5,688,400 annually beginning in FY21 and applying thereafter; (b) towns - $6,033,600 in FY20 and $6,162,400 annually beginning in FY21 and applying thereafter; and (c) cities/villages - $3,867,700 in FY20 and $3,950,300 annually for cities/villages beginning in FY21 and applying thereafter.
  • Railroad Crossing and Repair Assistance. The Governor recommends increasing funding for railroad crossing and repair to address a backlog of projects.
The League will reimburse the mileage and parking expenses for all officials and staff from member municipalities who participate in Municipal Lobby Day in Madison on Wednesday, May 22.

This is the League's largest lobbying event of the legislative session. Interact face-to-face with legislators in the state Capitol and at lunch. The day begins at 9:00 and includes a legislative briefing before walking to the Capitol for legislative meetings. The day ends with lunch at Monona Terrace. Governor Evers has been invited to speak at lunch. Please join us for some or all of the day.
(Use the Public Registration Button)
This event is free for officials & staff of League member municipalities. The League will reimburse members' mileage and parking expenses.

212 Roads to Somewhere
" The Wisconsin Legislature is deciding this spring whether or not to delay main street in 212 Wisconsin Cities, Villages and Towns. There are  212 state highway rehabilitation projects  included in a $320 million state highway rehabilitation program budget request. The request is being considered this month by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance. Each of those projects is a vital piece of a community’s economic success. We hope the vote is “Green” for go." Read the post on Jerry's Local Perspective blog and subscribe.

Discover Wisconsin Video Focused on Transportation
Baraboo Mayor Palm takes on transportation aids in the latest Discover Wisconsin video on local government. (This is one in a series of four videos commissioned by the League to be produced and distributed by Discover Wisconsin.)

WisDOT Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson was Gwyn's guest on the #LocalGovMatters podcast. They discuss road conditions, the possibility of tolling, transportation funding and politics.

The #LocalGovMatters podcast is brought to you by the League in partnership with the Wheeler Report and the Wisconsin Counties Association. You can listen to it on your PC or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

SB 203, Authorizes municipalities to allow clerks to issue Operator's Licenses. This bill allows a municipal governing body to pass an ordinance delegating authority to issue operator's licenses (“bartender's licenses") to a designated municipal official, such as the clerk. By Sen. Kapenga (R-Delafield) The League supports this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.

No public hearings on municipal bills scheduled for this week.