JFC to Take up Transportation Funding Tomorrow; Stewardship on Thursday

The Co-Chairs of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee have noticed an executive session for tomorrow, June 8th at 1:00 pm on the 2021-2023 Biennial Budget. JFC will take up the Department of Transportation, including local transportation aid programs; Military Affairs; Division of Gaming; Building Commission and the Building Program.

JFC also noticed an executive session for Thursday, June 10th at 1:00 pm. In this session the committee will take up the Department of Corrections, Courts, Legislature, the remainder of the Department of Agriculture, and Department of Natural Resources, including the stewardship program, water quality, air, waste, parks, and forestry.

Both meetings of JFC can be viewed virtually on Wisconsin Eye.

Municipal Bills Advance as June Floor Period Approaches

Last week, legislative committees took action on the following municipal bills the League supports, setting them up for both houses to pass later this June:

SB 76 -- Clarifying that personal property aid payments made to a TID district transfer to the municipality and other taxing jurisdictions after the district closes. The bill has been amended to apply retroactively to TIF districts that have closed between 2018 and whenever the bill is enacted. The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Legal Review and Consumer Protection voted unanimously last week to recommend passage of SB 76. The bill is scheduled for a full Senate vote on June 9. The Assembly is planning to vote on the Assembly companion bill, AB 56, on June 16.

SB 187 -- Allowing village board members to be hired as employees of the village and earn up to $15,000 annually. The Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government voted unanimously last week to recommend passage of SB 187. The bill is scheduled for a Senate floor vote on June 9.

AB 300 -- Establishing a process and deadlines for PSC actions relating to a water utility's application for approval of a construction project or lead service line financial assistance program. The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities voted unanimously last week to recommend passage of AB 300.

AB 302 -- Exempting water utility meter upgrade projects from the PSC's utility construction review process. The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities voted unanimously last week to recommend passage of AB 302.

Senate Agenda for Wednesday Includes Bill Penalizing Municipalities for reducing Police and Fire Spending

The Senate is scheduled to meet June 9th and the agenda includes the following bill the League opposes:

SB 119, Mandating Maintenance of Effort on Public Safety Spending or Number of Employees for Departments with 30 or More Employees. The substitute amendment introduced on June 4 penalizes communities with police and fire departments with 30 or more employees with shared revenue cuts if the community decreases the amount of its municipal budget dedicated to hiring, training, and retaining law enforcement officers, members of the paid fire department, or emergency medical responders so that it is less than the amount dedicated to that purpose in the previous year. Also, under the bill, if in any year a municipality maintains the amount of its budget dedicated to hiring, training, and retaining law enforcement officers, members of the paid fire department, or emergency medical responders but retains fewer officers, fire fighters, or responders than in the previous year, the municipality will receive a county and municipal aid payment that is reduced by the amount of the compensation that the municipality paid to the officers, fire fighters, and responders that it did not retain, not including officers funded by federal grants.
Action Step: Contact your state Senator and urge him or her to vote against SB 119. This bill interferes with local policy decisions relating to the size and funding of police and fire departments that are best made by local elected officials.

The Senate calendar for Wednesday also includes the following three election bills that the League opposes and which failed to receive a positive committee vote:

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

SB 205, relating to absentee voting in certain residential care facilities and retirement homes. 

SB 206, relating to status as an indefinitely confined voter for purposes of receiving absentee ballots automatically. 

DOR Distributes Instructions for Receiving first ARPA Payment

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue emailed non-entitlement communities (generally communities with populations under 50,000) a link to a spreadsheet showing each municipality's estimated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation and the steps communities must follow to receive their first payment.

The distribution of ARPA funds to non-entitlement communities will be handled by DOR. Read DOR's email here.

How to Use ARPA Funds on Lost Revenue

Last week, the National League of Cities published an article on calculating lost revenue under ARPA. Read the article here.

The National League of Cities has also developed a calculator which embeds the formula from the Treasury guidance to help municipalities calculate revenue loss.   

If you have general questions about the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, please email the U.S. Department of Treasury at SLFRP@treasury.gov or call 844-529-9527. 
Other ARPA Resources
  • League staff has prepared an ARPA FAQ responding to question submitted to us by League members. Read the League's ARPA FAQ here.
  • Interim Final Rule
  • Factsheet – provides an overview of the aid, further describing allowable and ineligible uses
  • Frequently asked questions – address common questions received by the Treasury