Public Hearing Wednesday on Bill Allowing Levy Limit Referendums Earlier than November
The Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight is holding a public hearing on Wednesday at 1:00 on AB 310, which allows a local government to conduct a referendum on exceeding levy limits earlier in the year than November. Under current law, the only time a community may hold a levy limit referendum is after net new construction numbers are released in August and ballot notices of the referendum question are published, which means such referendums may only be held in November.

AB 310, which Rep. Novak (R-Dodgeville) and Sen. Marklein (R-Spring Green) introduced at the request of the League and the Counties Association, allows a local government to use its best estimate of its net new construction number based on the most current data available in order to adopt a resolution and hold a referendum to increase its levy beyond the allowable limit.

League staff will be testifying in support of the bill.
Municipal Bills up for a Vote this week when Senate and Assembly Meet on the Floor
The Senate meets on the floor on Tuesday and the Assembly meets on Thursday this week. Both houses will be taking up municipal bills.

Municipal Bills on Senate Calendar for Tuesday:

SB-92   City Manager Residency . Authorizing a city or village operating under the city manager plan to impose residency requirements on the city or village manager. The League supports this bill.

SB-108   Updating Process for Filling Municipal Elective Office Vacancies . Streamlines and cleans up statute governing filling of vacancies in elective offices in cities and villages. The League helped draft this bill.

SB-214   Municipal Court Powers and Procedures . Makes numerous changes to municipal ordinance enforcement and court procedures. The League supports this bill .

AB-471   911 Grants. Establishing a framework for issuing Next Generation 911 grants once the grant program is funded. The League opposes this bill because it limits grants to one PSAP per county.

Municipal Bills on Assembly Calendar for Thursday:

AB-527   Suicide by Firearm Prevention Grants. Creates and funds a grant program related to preventing suicide by firearms. The League supports this bill.

AB-530   Suicide Prevention Grants  Grants for suicide prevention programming and making an appropriation. The League supports this bill.
Advocate for Your Community
League's Fall Lobby Day is this Wednesday, November 6
All municipal officials and staff are invited to participate in the League's fall Lobby Day on November 6. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with a legislative briefing provided by League staff before walking to the Capitol for legislative meetings. We will be focusing on the following bills:

  • Support LRB – 4540, Clarifying that personal property aid payments made to a TIF District transfer to the municipality and other taxing jurisdictions after the TIF closes. 

  • Support AB 472, Creating a levy limit exemption for joint emergency medical service districts.

  • Support SB 105/AB 90, Exempting municipalities from the Fair Dealership Law.

  • SB 71, State aids for local governments required to conduct certain special elections. 

After Capitol visits we reconvene for lunch. The event concludes at 1:30. We'll provide you with handouts and all the information you need to talk with your state legislators about legislation affecting cities and villages.

Register for the November 6 Lobby Day here.
Multimodal Local Supplement Grant Conference Call Scheduled with WisDOT Staff
The League has organized a call with WisDOT staff to answer questions about applying for the one-time Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) Grant Program created by the 2019-2021 state budget. The deadline to apply for this one-time program is Friday December 6, 2019. 
NOTEplease review the following resources before the call and join us if you have additional questions. 
  1. The League’s website outlines the program and provides links to WisDOT. Access it here.
  2. The WisDOT informational webinar has been archived. Access the WisDOT webinar here.
Conference call to answer last minute questions:
Date:    November 12
Time:   1:30-3:00
To participate:  Dial in: 1-855-947-8255, Pass code: 5574 824# 
In the News
Madison City Council passes $40 wheel tax to close major budget hole
“Budgets require tough choices, and we can’t do everything that we want to do,” Rhodes-Conway told council members. “I do not want to have to do a vehicle registration fee. It’s not my first choice — not by a long shot. It’s not my second choice, it’s not my fifth choice, it’s not even my 10th choice.” Read the story here...

Dark Store Loophole Continues with No Repeal in Site
Local municipalities continue to face the prospect of having to defend their property tax assessments against what's known as the dark store loophole. Read the story...

MGE breaks ground on Middleton solar farm, planning 20 megawatt project in Fitchburg
MG&E has contracted to sell 30 percent of the power generated to the Middleton-Cross Plains School District and the city of Middleton, which last year approved a resolution to power all city operations with renewable energy by 2035. Read the article...

DNR: Majority Of Wastewater Systems Decline To Test For PFAS
"Groh added there were too many unanswered questions as to what costs or liability treatment plants and local governments may face with testing. In an Oct. 18 letter, the association along with the Municipal Environmental Group and League of Wisconsin Municipalities said test results would not provide meaningful information "in the absence of certified labs and surface water standards." Read the article...

Tony Evers puts Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary proposal back on table
Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels said at the press conference, "This national marine sanctuary will not only put us on the map, but it will educate future generations as to how we got here.

"It's not just our past, but it is our present," Nickels continued. "We have so many neat things happening in the city of Manitowoc ... and it's the circle of the maritime history heritage that we have that has continued to today, to the present, but also to reflect upon our past, and it is our future." Read the story...

No bills affecting municipalities were introduced last week.

AB 310, Allowing Levy Limit Referendums to be Conducted Earlier in the Year than November . By Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight, on Wednesday, November 6, at 1:00 p.m. in 300 Northeast, State Capitol. The League supports this bill.
Did you attend the League's 121st Annual Conference in Green Bay?
Help us make the 122nd Conference, Oct. 7-9, 2020 in La Crosse even better!