Last week, both houses of the Legislature met on the floor for the first time since February and passed by voice vote the following two bills of interest to municipalities:

  • SB 4, expanding the type of immobilization devices municipalities may use to immobilize either an unregistered motor vehicle or a motor vehicle owned by a habitual parking violator. Specifically, allows a local government to immobilize such a motor vehicle with: (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.  
  • SB 13, creates an exception to the current requirement that an assessor notify a taxpayer when the taxpayer’s property is assessed at a different total that the prior year. Under the amended bill, 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. 

The League supports both these bills, which have been sent to the Governor for his signature.
All municipal officials and staff are invited to participate in the League's Lobby Day on Wednesday, May 22. This is the League's largest lobbying event of the legislative session. It offers the opportunity to 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. 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 Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance is holding its third public hearing on the state budget, AB 56/SB 59, today in River Falls at UW River Falls University Center, Riverview Ballroom #260.

The final budget hearing is April 24 in Green Bay, at UW Green Bay University Union, Phoenix Room.

TAKE ACTION : If you attend these hearings be sure to testify in support of retaining the many items helpful to municipalities included in Governor Evers' state budget proposal, including:

  • 2% ($15 million) increase in shared revenue funding.
  • Relaxation of property tax levy limits -- allowing communities to increase their levy from the prior year the 2% or net new construction, whichever is greater.
  • Addressing the State's Transportation Funding Shortfall.
  • 10% increase in General Transportation Aids funding.
  • 10% increase in Mass Transit Operation s Aids.
  • Creation of a $10 million Transit Capital Assistance Program.
  • Closing the dark store and Walgreens property tax loopholes.
  • Restoring municipal ability to use eminent domain powers to acquire land for bike and recreation paths.

Written comments can be emailed to the committee at BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov, or sent via U.S. mail to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702.

Click on the button below to read the League's memo to the Joint Finance Committee commenting on Governor Evers' state budget bill.
The Assembly Committee on Community Development is holding an informational hearing on April 16 at 1:00 in the State Capitol on creating and maintaining positive first impressions regarding your community. Committee chair, Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha), has invited the following community leaders to present to the committee:

  • Robert Duffy, Oconomowoc Bureau of Economic Development
  • David DeAngelis, Administrator, Village of Elm Grove
  • James Fenlon, Administrator, Village of Little Chute
  • Mike Darrow, City Administrator of New Richmond
  • Tiffany King, Exec. Dir., Mt. Horeb Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Dena Wortzel, Wisconsin Humanities Council
  • Dr. Arijit Sen, UW Milwaukee

Village Board denies Walgreen’s excessive assessment claim
Loss of tax dollars looms over Pewaukee
Thousands of tax dollars are on the line for Pewaukee residents as Walgreens pursues a major reassement of their property at 1441 Capitol Drive.

Walgreens believes the fair market value of their property should be approximately $2 million, which is a reduction of $1,588,500, or 44.2 percent, of their 2018 assessed value.

On Thursday night, the Pewaukee Village Board disallowed Walgreens Company’s “Claim of Excessive Assessment,” which means the taxpayers’ dollar is safe for now.

However, if the tax reassement were granted, the village of Pewaukee would lose $8,147, the Pewaukee School District would lose $15,574, Waukesha County Technical College would lose $595 and Waukesha County would lose $3,108." Read the full story...

Wisconsin is Over-Reliant on the Property Tax
This week’s Local Perspective blog post is by Sharon Eveland, Clintonville City Administrator 
"If you ask someone in my community what they think about their local government, one of the first things they will likely say is “our property taxes are too high” and they would be right. When I first moved here from Georgia, I was shocked by how high property taxes were here, and by here, I mean all over the state. The house I currently live in is assessed at about $10,000 higher than the house I owned in Georgia and yet my property tax is twice as high! I got curious and started looking in to why that might be and I quickly realized how local governments in Wisconsin are forced to rely almost exclusively on the property tax for raising revenue." Read the full blog post...

Manitowoc Art Forward: Museums making a difference throughout Wisconsin
Drive through Wisconsin and you’ll be hard-pressed to go far without seeing a museum. Large cities and small rural villages enjoy the many benefits that museums provide. They celebrate communities and recognize the things that make our state unique. They provide valuable educational opportunities to Wisconsinites. They are a place for people to gather and they are economic drivers."  Read the full story... You can celebrate and bring attention to Wisconsin's Creative Economy Week May 11-18 by adopting the proclamation. The Creative Economy Week is brought to you in partnership with Arts Wisconsin.
The latest #LocalGovMatters podcast is a great conversation between former Governors Tommy Thompson and Jim Doyle, former State Representative/Mayor of West Allis Jeannette Bell, retired broadcaster John Colbert and podcast host/President of Wheeler Reports, Inc. Gwyn Guenther. It was recorded live at Madison's Park Premier Hotel.

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

SB 159, Automatic voter registration, deceptive election practices, voter intimidation and suppression, voter rights, polling place posting and language requirements. This bill makes numerous changes to laws relating to elections and voting. By Sen. Smith (D-Eau Claire). The League has not taken a position on this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.

AB 56/ SB 59, State Budget Bill. By Joint Committee on Finance, on Monday, April 15, from 10:00-5:00 at at UW River Falls University Center, Riverview Ballroom #260. See the League's memo to Joint Finance Committee members on the state budget bill, here.

SB 106, Prohibiting local health departments from establishing separate fees for pre-licensing inspections of micro markets. By Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations on Tuesday, April 16, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 301 East, State Capitol. The League opposes this bill.

SB 133, Expressly authorizing a municipality to enact an ordinance prohibiting a person from engaging in massage therapy without a license from the state. By Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations on Tuesday, April 16, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 301 East, State Capitol. The League supports this bill