Publications FAQ 11

When a municipality recodifies its ordinances or adopts a new section of a code, does the municipality have to publish the entire code or section thereof in the newspaper?

Generally speaking, no. Section 66.0103 allows a common council or village board to enact a code or a portion of a code of ordinances by publishing a single ordinance that incorporates the code or portion thereof by reference. If this method is used, a copy of the code or portion thereof must be available for inspection at least two weeks before the code is enacted. After the code or portion thereof is enacted, a copy of the code must be maintained and available for inspection in the clerk’s office.

Using sec. 66.0103 in situations where a municipality is adopting a new code of ordinances or adding new sections to an existing code will save a municipality a lot of money in publication fees. Although it does not appear that this procedure can be used in lieu of full publication whenever a municipality enacts a lengthy ordinance, secs. 61.50 and 62.11(4) were  amended by 2007 Wis. Act 72 to authorize publication of a notice containing a summary of an ordinance as an alternative to publication of an ordinance in its entirety. See Publications 126 for a sample notice.