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 here:

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.
Legislation Affecting Municipalities Signed into Law
Last week, Governor Evers signed the following bills affecting municipalities into law:

AB 471 ( Act 26), establishes a framework for distributing Next Generation 911 grants once the grant program is funded. The League opposed AB 471 and asked the Governor to veto it because it prohibits the Department of Military Affairs from awarding more than one grant per county. Such a prohibition makes most, if not all, municipal dispatch centers ineligible for a grant.

AB 132 ( Act 34), provides for the regulation and treatment of electric bicycles in the same manner as other bicycles. Under the Act, municipalities are allowed to prohibit the use of electric bikes on bike paths. The League supported this bill.

SB 106 (Act 51), expands on 2017 Act 255 by providing additional licensing and inspection powers to local health departments that are granted agent status to issue retail food establishment licenses for micro markets by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The League changed its position from neutral to support after brokering an amendment clarifying that local health departments may conduct and collect a fee for a prelicensing inspection.
Governor Vetoes Changes to Placement of Sexually Violent Persons on Supervised Release
Last week, Governor Evers vetoed SB 60, changing the process for placement of sexually violent persons on supervised release. Among other things, the bill would have eliminated the prohibition on placing a sexually violent person within 1,500 feet of any school, child care facility, place of worship, or youth center. Instead, the bill would have required a county committee tasked with locating a placement with considering the distance between the person's placement and these types of properties. Also, the bill would have required a municipal representative to be appointed to the county committee recommending a placement. The League supported the bill as did the Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin Town Association.

The Governor vetoed the bill because it repealed the 1,500 foot distance requirement. Governor Walker vetoed a similar bill last session for the same reason.
Video Gambling Machines
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue asked the League to share information with our members about the illegal operation of video gambling machines. Some of you may be aware of retail locations in your community that received a direct letter from the department. Operation of video gambling machines is a felony, except that lesser penalties may apply for establishments with a Class B retail alcohol beverage license. Retailers are encouraged to contact their attorney to discuss whether they are in violation of Wisconsin gambling laws. Violation of the law may result in the following:
  • Class I felony offense for commercial gambling (sec. 945.03(1m), Wis. Stats.)
  • Fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment, or both (secs. 945.03(1m) and 939.51(a), Wis. Stats.)
  • Class A misdemeanor offense for permitting premises to be used for commercial gambling (sec. 945.04(1m), Wis. Stats.)
  • Seizure of video gambling machines (sec. 968.13, Wis. Stats.)
  • Revocation of alcohol beverage license or permit (sec. 945.041, Wis. Stats.)
  • Discontinuation as Lottery retailer (sec. 565.10(3)(a), Wis. Stats.)
  • Closure of business as a public nuisance (sec. 823.20, Wis. Stats.)

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 ...

With Lake Michigan waves intensifying, Fox Point takes emergency action to protect sewers on eroding shoreline
Because the lake is expected to remain high for the next six months to a year, the Fox Point Village Board adopted an emergency resolution on Nov. 12.

The resolution states the erosion on Beach Drive "constitutes a public emergency requiring immediate measures to protect the shoreline."

The resolution allowed village officials to fast-track bluff restoration work to protect the public utilities. Read the story

Alderman calls for millennial task force:
Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson says the city is losing too many young, educated people and he wants to study what would keep them.
Does Milwaukee have a brain drain going on? Statistics show the numbers of educated young people leaving both the city and the state are higher than the national average. A Milwaukee alderman hopes to reverse this trend. Cavalier Johnson wants to form a millennial task force to study how to attract and keep younger people. Watch the video...

No new bills affecting municipalities were introduced last week.

No public hearings on municipal bills are scheduled for this short week of Thanksgiving.
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!