Senate Committee Advances Bill Clarifying when Property Taxes Considered Paid on Time
Last week, the Senate Committee on Local Government voted unanimously to recommend passage of 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 italicized wording is new. The bill also clarifies that if the due date is a Saturday or Sunday, the current five-day “grace” period ends on the following Friday. The League supports this bill, which the Assembly passed in June. The full Senate will likely take it up in October or November.
Unofficial Estimates of CPI for Purposes of Expenditure Restraint Program
Many communities have reached out to the League the last couple of weeks asking if we have any preliminary numbers for the Expenditure Restraint Program (ERP) CPI. The final official CPI number for ERP won’t be available from DOR for a couple of weeks. However, Legislative Fiscal Bureau staff kindly shared with me on September 17 an unofficial preliminary estimate of the CPI change from September 30, 2018 to September is 30, 2019, which is 1.85%. 

That estimate assumes the September, 2019 index will be 1.7% higher than last September. (Note: The actual September change could be higher than that given the trade war, the Saudi-Iran-Yemen situation, and domestic political uncertainties. If we substitute 2.5% for 1.7%, the annual change equals 1.92%, instead of 1.85%. That said, the calculation does not move much under the two above calculations.)
 
Just a reminder, these are preliminary, unofficial estimates. DOR will publish the official number in a few weeks. The statutes provide that CPI for ERP is defined as follows: “Inflation factor” means a percentage equal to the average annual percentage change in the U.S. consumer price index for all urban consumers , U.S. city average, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor, for the 12 months ending on September 30 of the year before.
Regulating Aboveground Storage Tanks of Less than 5000 Gallons
In July, the Department of Trade and Consumer Protection notified affected Local Program Operators of the possibility that it would cease to regulate flammable and combustible liquid aboveground storage tanks less than 5,000-gallons, i.e. the same regulatory capacity limit that currently applies to hazardous liquid aboveground tanks would apply to all regulated liquids. This notification was the result of a newly mandated report that required DATCP to identify to the Legislature any rules that conflict with state statute. In this report, DATCP indicated that certain portions of chapter ATCP 93 conflict with state statute. Specifically, DATCP reported that ATCP § 93’s regulation of flammable and combustible liquid aboveground storage tanks greater than 110 gallons conflict with Wis. Stat. § 168’s mandate that the law apply only to flammable, combustible and hazardous liquid aboveground tanks 5,000 gallons or greater. In its report to the Legislature, the DATCP recommended a statutory change to align the rule with statute. Accordingly, effective October 1, 2019, DATCP will no longer enforce those portions of ATCP 93 that conflict with the statute. As a result, inspections of tanks within your community for compliance with NFPA standards that DATCP has conducted since the inception of the tanks program will no longer occur. 

DATCP continues to work with legislative officials and affected industry members to address this conflict in our law, and we are hopeful there will be a legislative change to align the statute with the administrative code. DATCP is aware that, in the absence of our program, local fire officials may decide to inspect these tanks for compliance with NFPA standards in order to ensure public safety, and we will keep you apprised of any developments with legislative changes.

To stay in compliance with fire code, local regulations and federal law, as well as protect Wisconsin’s environment and public safety, DATCP is encouraging tank owners to continue to register aboveground storage tanks less than 5,000 gallons with the Department, use qualified technicians when servicing them, and continue to have them inspected by DATCP. DATCP has also developed an FAQ to assist the regulated community in understanding how these changes affect them. 

If you have questions about this program, please contact Greg Bareta at (608) 224-5150 or via email at greg.bareta@wisconsin.gov.

If you have questions about the change in the law, please contact DATCP’s legislative liaison, Bradford Steine at (608) 224-5024 or via email at bradford.steine1@wisconsin.gov
In the News

‘Concerns run very deep:’ Community leaders urge state lawmakers to take action against mass violence
"We can not continue the cycle that involves wringing our hands for a week and then moving on to business as usual," said Wauwatosa Mayor Ehley.

"The reason that there are so many officials who have signed this letter is they are concerned about it," said Mayor Barrett. "When you've got over 170 public officials that are signing onto a letter like this, that tells you that the concerns run very deep." Read the Fox 6 story here...

Wisconsin Municipalities Calling For Mass Violence Reform
Organization Wants Governor, Legislature To Find Middle Ground
The organization wants the governor and Legislature to find middle ground and work together to decide what can be done to help minimize mass violence. Read the WPR story here...


Wisconsin Elections Commission Approves Funding To Strengthen Election Security: New Technology Could Help Communities Protect Election Systems
Election clerks in 215 communities are using only Windows 7 devices, and in January, Microsoft will stop providing security updates for that software, according to the commission. About 65 of those clerks say cost is preventing them from making a firm plan to replace it. Read the story...

#LocalGovMatters Podcast - Drones and their use by law enforcement is the focus of the latest Listen to the #LocalGovMatters podcast here... and on your favorite podcast platform.
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RECENTLY INTRODUCED BILLS

AB 469, Creating $100 nonrefundable income tax credit for volunteer fire fighters, emergency medical responders, and emergency medical services practitioners. By Rep. Pronschinske (R-Mondovi). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.

AB 471, Specifying Criteria for Awarding Grants for Next Generation 911. The bill prohibits the department of Military Affairs from awarding a Next Generation 911 grant (which has not yet been funded) to more than one public safety answering point per county. By Rep. Loudenbeck (R-Clinton). The League opposes limiting the grants to one PSAP per county. Comment to the League on this bill.
AB 472, Creating a levy limit exemption for charges assessed by Joint emergency medical services district under certain conditions. By Rep. Loudenbeck (R-Clinton). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.

SB 441, Repeals current law provision requiring that if a political subdivision transfers to another governmental unit the responsibility to provide a service that it provided in the previous year, the levy increase limit otherwise applicable in the current year is decreased to reflect the cost that the political subdivision would have incurred to provide that service. By Sen. Kooyenga (R-Brookfield). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.
PUBLIC HEARINGS ON MUNICIPAL BILLS

Informational Hearing on Affordable Housing. Professor Kurt Paulsen from the UW-Madison Department of Urban & Regional Planning, will be discussing a new study on workforce housing titled “Falling Behind: Addressing Wisconsin’s Workforce Housing Shortage To Strengthen Families, Communities, and Our Economy.” Hosted by the Senate Committee on Utilities and Housing on Thursday, October 3 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 300 Southeast, State Capitol.
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