Inclusive Communities
What would make a community, either large or small, a welcoming community? In making your community a more attractive place to live and work for diverse residents, how do you honor the community's heritage? What do you do to get there? Jerry Deschane sits down with Eric Giordano, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service for our November Local Perspective . Eric works with communities around the state to address community needs. Thanks to FACTv for hosting us!
Diversity and Inclusion: Let's Have the Conversation
Eric Giordano, Ph.D., Executive Director, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service , University of Wisconsin System 
November, The Municipality , pg. 4

  • Knight Soul of the Community (SOTC) is a three-year study conducted by Gallup of the 26 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation communities across the United States employing a fresh approach to determine the factors that attach residents to their communities and the role of community attachment in an area’s economic growth and well-being. The study focuses on the emotional side of the connection between residents and their communities.
  • Equity and Inclusion Toolkit by the International City/County Mgt Association provides Strategies and leading practices in use in communities around the world and corresponding resources that can be replicated in other communities.
  • Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative (National League of Cities) serves to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities. Through training and online resources, REAL helps build safe places where people from all racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds thrive socially, economically, academically and physically.

Save the Date: Toward One Wisconsin 2020 Conference: A Conference on Building Communities of Equity and Opportunity, April 28-29, 2020, Green Bay
We will bring together individuals and organizations from multiple sectors across Wisconsin to address the most persistent barriers to inclusion, what is working, and what is promising on the horizon. There's a Wisconsin CEO roundtable, 60 different breakouts and great keynote speakers. Details here...
Diversity & Inclusion
Karen Nelson, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, City of Appleton
November, The Municipality, pg. 7

“Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Your Strategic Planning Process,” presented by Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna and the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Appleton, Karen Nelson, as part of the 2018-19 CEO Breakfast and Strategy Series at St. Norbert College.
The Dignity & Respect Campaign
Karen Nelson, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, City of Appleton
November, The Municipality , pg. 7

"The City of Appleton embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion! Appleton is the place where people can use their talents to thrive. The City is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community and enhancing the quality of life. We have been named one of the top 50 cities in the country to live in by 24/7 Wall Street. We are pleased to launch the Dignity & Respect Campaign to take our efforts to a whole new level! Won’t you join us? For more information email
Highlight! Your Municipality Can Join the Dignity & Respect Campaign

"Here’s how it works: The Campaign helps individuals and organizations reinforce their commitment to creating environments for ALL to work, live, learn, and play—with ALL of our differences. There are three stages to getting started. Learn more....
Watch the Wisconsin Public Works Association video on the City of Franklin's All Inclusive playground achieved through a public-private partnership with the support of the Mayor and the work of city staff.

Inclusive parks are for everyone
Mardy McGarry, a retired special education teacher who coordinated the effort to build Port Washington's Possibility Playground 10 years ago, said it was easy to get the community on board. But they did have to explain themselves sometimes.

"We did have some people say, 'Why would you build a playground just for people with disabilities?'" she said. "They didn't understand that when you built a playground like this, everybody gets to play. And when we built it, the skeptics saw everyone playing and then said, 'Aha, now I get it.' " Read the story...
Focusing on Inclusive Benefits for All
City of Madison Dept. of Civil Rights
November, The Municipality, pg. 12

Service Animals and the Law, Protected Classes, Affirmative Action and Racial Equity webinars available....

Not only are the staff at Madison's Department of Civil Rights working to make Madison an inclusive place to work and live, they also get calls from municipalities across Wisconsin with questions on these topics so they created a series of webinars in partnership with the League that you can access. They are all archived here (scroll down the page):
Additional Information:

Tony Evers signs a bill making voting easier for some people with disabilities; advocates want more changes
“Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill Friday that allows voters who cannot state their name and address to have an election official or person of their choice say it for them. 

"We thank those voters with disabilities who experienced discrimination at their polling place for sharing their experience and calling for a change in the law,” Barbara Beckert, director of the Milwaukee office for Disability Rights Wisconsin, said in a statement.”  Read the story...   Read the Act ... Comment on this story on the League's Facebook page...

National Diversity Council - Transforming our work places and communities into inclusive environments where individuals are valued for their talents and empowered to reach their fullest potential.
Access Ability Council - AAW's objective is to provide recreational opportunities for physically challenged people, including wheelchair users, who want to enjoy the Wisconsin outdoors.
Zach Vruwink Leads the League
November, The Municipality, pg. 16

As a Wisconsin Rapids native, Zach Vruwink lived through the painful transition of a changing industrial economy. As paper mills closed, general community attitudes about the future were bleak, at best. The general consensus of Vruwink’s high school peers was to not just move away for college after high school, but to move and not return.

“But I didn’t feel that way. I saw a lot of untapped potential, and I wanted to be a part of that regrowth. There were a number of residents and small business owners who came together under the “Community Progress Initiatives,” and we focused on building our local economy back up by celebrating the community’s history and highlighting the arts of the area. I jumped in and started my own business.” Vruwink was 15 at the time.

Mayor Vruwink talks about the League's long-term agenda and his role as the new League President as part of an interview on WFHR AM 1320.
HR Matters
Diversity, Inclusion, Equal Employment Opportunity–
What’s the Difference? 
By Lisa Bergersen, Principal Attorney at EngageHR Law , Of Counsel at Buelow Vetter , Former HR Director, City of Pewaukee 
November, The Municipality , pg. 22

"We hear so much about "diversity," "inclusion," and "equal employment"; but what do these terms mean in the workplace, and how do they relate to each other? This month's article explores these concepts and their importance at work."

Additional Resources :

All HR Matters columns are posted to their own page on the League's website for reference.
Save the Date for the League's 122nd Conference!
October 7-9, 2020 in La Crosse.
Legal - Public Comments Q & A
November, The Municipality , pg. 19
By Maria Davis, Assistant Legal Counsel and Claire Silverman, Legal Counsel, League of Wisconsin Municipalities

  • Are governing bodies required to include a public comment period at meetings?
  • Are governing body members able to speak/respond to citizens during public comment period?
  • May governing body members speak as members of the public during a public comment period?
  • Can governing bodies restrict the subject matter that may be discussed during a public comment period?

And many more of your legal questions answered. Read the article as a PDF.
Inclusivity and Mental Health Care in Wisconsin
Laura Taylor, Communications Specialist, WEA Trust
November, The Municipality, pg. 14

In Wisconsin, there’s an alarming shortage of providers who deliver care for some of the most important situations. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 59% of the primary medical care and only 19.4% of the mental health care needs are met. It would take more than 150 primary care doctors and 250 mental health practitioners in order to remove Wisconsin’s official provider shortage designation. It’s no wonder that in our state, it’s difficult to find a primary care doctor with openings, and on average, you’ll wait up to 5 weeks to schedule an initial therapy appointment.

Learn more about how WEA Trust's League Health Plan provides solutions:

Click here to order the League's newly updated Municipal Licensing and Regulation of Alcohol Beverages.
Missed the League's 2019 Local Government 101 Workshops? Order the DVDs!

Order Your Local Govt 101 Workshop on DVD Today
The four DVD set includes the entire one-day workshop for you to watch on your own schedule!

• Welcome - Basics of the League
• Organization & Powers of Cities and Villages
• Recognizing and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
• Budgeting & Financial Oversight
• Procedures for Local Government Meetings
• Managing Public Works Activities

The League’s Local Government 101 Workshop provides a basic framework for governing to both new city and village officials and those who want to brush up on their knowledge of local governance.

This League DVD set provides information that you need to govern. You will learn about city and village powers including municipal home rule; learn about how to recognize and avoid conflicts of interest; review the basics of municipal budgeting as well as how to run a meeting; and finish with an overview on managing public works projects. In addition, you’ll learn the answer to that age-old question, “What is a walking quorum anyway?”

The accompanying workbook, which is included with the DVD set, can be ordered on a flash drive or in print. It provides you with the presentations and supporting materials that are provided to all workshop participants. You can order it here:
December 6 Deadline for $75 Million Local Transportation Grant Program

The application deadline for the new, one-time Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) grant program is December 6. Funds awarded may be used for multimodal transportation projects on the local system, including roads, bridges, transit capital and facility projects, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, railroads, and harbors. The program pays up to 90% of total eligible costs with local governments providing a minimum of 10% cost share. 

Learn more on the League's website. Listen to the WisDOT podcast with Jerry Deschane, the League's Executive Director.

The deadline for applications is December 6, 2019.
Excerpt from the League's November 25, 2019 Legislative Bulletin:

Affordable Housing Reports Due January 1, 2020; River Falls Obtains Waiver from Mandate
2017 Wisconsin Act 243 created two new reporting mandates that municipalities over 10,000 in population must comply with by January 1, 2020. The reports must then be updated annually.

Housing Affordability Report . The more challenging reporting mandate requires more populous municipalities to prepare a report on the municipality's implementation of the housing element of its comprehensive plan. The report must contain the voluminous amount of information specified in Wis. Stat. sec. 66.10013(2), and must analyze the financial impact of the municipality’s residential development regulations (e.g., land use controls, site improvement requirements, fees and land dedication requirements, and permit procedures) on new subdivision costs. As part of the report, a municipality must identify ways it can modify its regulations to meet existing and forecasted housing demand and reduce the time and cost necessary to approve and develop a new residential subdivision in the municipality by 20 percent. 

Waiver from Reporting Mandate?  If your community currently lacks capacity to prepare a fully compliant housing affordability report by January 1, 2020, you might consider applying for a temporary waiver from the mandate under Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0143, which allows communities to appeal to DOR for exemption from state mandates. The City of River Falls did and DOR granted it a four-year waiver from the housing affordability reporting mandate.

River Falls explained in its waiver application that the city lacked the capacity and resources necessary to comply with the reporting mandate by January 1, 2020. The city also stressed that it had recently completed a comprehensive housing needs analysis in 2018.

The form for applying for a mandate waiver is posted on DOR's website

Email  Curt Witynski  to obtain copies of River Falls' application for a waiver, the common council's resolution in support of the request, and DOR's response granting the waiver.

Fee Report . The second reporting requirement under Act 243 requires municipalities over 10,000 in population to prepare and post a report by January 1, 2020, detailing the community's residential development fees. The report must contain information specified in sec. 66.10014(2) and then divide the total amount of fees imposed for purposes related to residential construction, remodeling, or development in the prior year by the number of new residential dwelling units approved by the municipality in the prior year. This report must be posted on the municipality’s internet site on a web page devoted solely to the report and titled “New Housing Fee Report.” The municipality must provide copies of the reports to each governing body member. Importantly, if a fee or the amount of a fee is not properly posted as required, the municipality may not charge the fee.
Join Us!
Save the Date for the League's 122nd Conference!
October 7-9, 2020 in La Crosse.