The Municipality Magazine

The League's the Municipality magazine is published monthly and circulates to almost 10,000 local elected officials, staff and partners in Wisconsin. We focus on issues that are of interest to Wisconsin's cities and villages and will help to move Wisconsin forward.  

If you are a local elected official or staff of a League member municipality and are not receiving the magazine, email the League and we will add you to the subscription list.  
November mag Streets and Roads Cover

Current Issue


November, 2017


Streets and Roads are basic to local government services. They are the focus of the League's November, the Municipality. If you've wondered about the "Anatomy of a Road," you'll want to read the article by the Wisconsin Transportation Information Center  or if Complete Street Design is an interest, read the article by SEH. In addition, the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin advocates for funding our vital transportation system - really Just Fix It! 

The magazine also provides a comprehensive summary by the League's Curt Witynski on ALL of the items in the budget impacting municipalities.  

October 17 the Municipality

October, 2017

We're excited about all 28 workshops at the League's Annual Conference. We've highlighted three in the magazine related to Economic Development and Housing, two topics we know are top of mind for League members. Our Partner, WHEDA is in the business of helping municipalities with housing and also has a long list of economic development resources, which they outline in their article. The next article details the innovative solutions to developing housing in the Village of Howard. In addition, our Legal Counsel provide guidance on website accessibility and helps define when committees are considered "Governmental Bodies: under the open meeting law.

The October E-Muni provides you direct links to housing and economic development resources, to the census, and to helpful websites on the legal issues of website accessibility and open meetings law.  

9 17 Civil Discourse

September, 2017

We're gearing up for the League's 119th Annual Conference with highlights of three conference workshops. "Creative Uses for Downtown Buildings" provide ideas from Wisconsin and other states to provide for a thriving downtown. "Tackling Barriers to Green Infrastructure One Ordinance at a Time" provides information about how to audit your codes and ordinances to maximize the use of green infrastructure, while "La Crosse County Heroin & Other Illicit Drug Task Force Goals and Strategies 2017" provides an outline of the goals and activities the task force is working through to mitigate the impacts of the scourge of the opioid epidemic.  In addition, Claire and Daniel provide the 2nd part of the Municipal Case Law Update.  

Jerry sat down with Alan Greenblatt, a reporter for Governing magazine to talk about Pre-Emption of Local Govt as a National Trend. Alan presented on the same topic at the League's Chief Executives Workshop.  Watch the League's "Local Perspective" discussion about what's going on nationally and where Wisconsin falls on the spectrum on the League's YouTube channel. Thanks to Instructional Communications Services at UW-Extension for filming the League's Local Perspective this month.

The E-Muni provides direct links to resources on downtown redevelopment, an infrastructure ordinance audit workbook and much more.  Read the League's E-Muni. 

8 17 Civil Discourse Cover

August, 2017

Civil Discourse has not been very civil lately - at any level of government.  Thanks to Stevens Point Alderwoman Heidi Oberstadt for "Authentically Bridging the Gap" and sharing how she has dealt with incivility.  The National institute for Civil Discourse is spearheading an initiative to revive civil discourse. They have excellent suggestions and a toolkit that you can use.  Plus we take on Takings, provide a municipal case law update (part 1) and learn about distributed energy systems from the experts at Siemens.  

Civility, or the lack thereof. How do you deal with it? Alderwoman Heidi Oberstadt: City of Stevens Point- District 4 and Jerry dig in and they stay civil on the League's "Local Perspective." Thanks to John Quirk at City of Stevens Point Government Community Media who produced the show for us and to Wisconsin Community Media for the partnership that makes the show possible. Watch it here...

The August E-Muni provides direct links to resources on Civil Discourse, additional information on the takings decision and the 2nd Annual State of the Cities and Villages Report. 

7 17 FINAL COVER

July, 2017

This month we focus on Payment Security and Finance. Is your municipality protected when making and accepting payments? Check out the fraud prevention tools and practices checklist provided by Lisa Woerpel of River Valley Bank. Questions about municipal bonding are answered in articles from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and by Greg Johnson of Ehlers. Brian Fraley of Edge Messaging gets edgy on the issue of bonding by focusing on debt service as a percent of state revenue. Plus we hear from LWMMI, welcome Dr. Yunji Kim, Local Finance Expert to the UW-Extension Local Government Center and celebrate the success of YPWeek 2017.  

Local Government Finance Specialist, Dr. Yunji Kim,UW-Extension's Local Government Center was Jerry's guest on this month's League the Local Perspective.  It's a fascinating conversation about local government fiscal challenges and how municipalities are responding. Thanks to Fitchburg Access Community Television - FACTv in City of Fitchburg, WI - Government for producing this month's show and to Wisconsin Community Media for the partnership. Watch it here...

July's League E-Muni links directly to the League's Municipal Budgeting toolkit and has additional resources and links for you on payment security and bonding.  

June New Officials Magazine
June, 2017

Welcome to the newly redesigned the Municipality magazine. We've kept all of the valuable content while updating the look. 

The League’s June the Municipality magazine is focused on new officials but with plenty of advice for more experienced officials.  Approximately 800 new city and village officials are seated statewide every April after the local elections.   Articles include “Tips for Muni-Newbies (and Old-Timers, Too) by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, “Cracking the Superstar Clerk Code” on the importance of municipal Clerk to a municipality as well as a legal article entitled “Parliamentary Procedure for Local Officials.”  

This month's League Local Perspective guest 
is President of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer for the village of Summit and Sun Prairie resident Chris Astrella.  Chris discussed the central role of the municipal clerk in Wisconsin’s local governments Thanks to KSUN for producing the show for us.  Watch the Local Perspective here... 

The June E-Muni provides direct links to resources for new and experienced officials including Daniel's handy parliamentary procedure chart. Read it here... 
5 2017_Cover

May, 2017 


We celebrate Wisconsin's vibrant Creative Economy in the May issue of the Municipality with murals from throughout the state.  Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin's Executive Director details the benefits of the arts to the state. The League celebrated Creative Economy Week May 13-20 in partnership with Arts Wisconsin. Thanks to everyone who adopted the Creative Economy Week Proclamation and submitted photos of murals. You can still send us your murals and we will post them on Facebook in the mural album here.  We also learn about Viroqua's Pop-Up Shops and Eau Claire's creative economy.  

Anne Katz, Executive Director of Arts Wisconsin shared her wealth of knowledge about Wisconsin's Creative Economy as our guest on the League's May Local Perspective.  Thanks to WSTO in Stoughton for hosting us. Watch the show here...

The League's E-Muni answers the question "How do you do the Creative Economy anyway?" and provides links to many more resources.  

4 17 Housing Cover
April, 2017 

We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA.) 

“One of the ongoing priorities of the League is to identify partnerships that will help Wisconsin’s cities and villages succeed, and this is a winner,” said League of Wisconsin Municipalities Executive Director Jerry Deschane. “The League will work with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and our members to bring WHEDA’s resources to communities all over the state and I’m confident our cities and villages will see tremendous benefits.”

Altoona details how housing change is hard to predict and constant, we provide a page of housing resources that you can clip and keep, we learn about the psychology of housing and see the possible property tax shift to homeowners and small business owners if Dark Store isn't stopped.  

On the League's April Local Perspective we learn more about how WHEDA is working to promote economic development and housing in Wisconsin from Brian Schimming, Chief Operating Officer and William Martin, Director, Business and Community Engagement & Senior Program Officer, WHEDA Foundation. Watch the show thanks to FACTv in Fitchburg here...‎

Links to additional resources on housing, including a link to the "clip and save" list in the magazine, TIF reporting requirements and an EAB wood reclamation program are all in the April E-Muni. Read it here...

3 17 Mag Parks and Rec
March, 2017
Wisconsin's cities and villages are rich with opportunities to play -  inside and outside and in any kind of weather. In the March, the Municipality we highlight both the work of Parks and Recreation staff and the value that this essential service provides. In addition, MSA Professsional Services details their "Cost of Clean Report" providing data on 20 years of sewer user charge trends and predicting that rate increases are around the corner as grant availability decreases. League Legal Counsel provides both a detailed look at Title II of the ADA and outlines the roles, responsibilities and rulemaking authority of local Park Boards. We also find out what a "pedlet" is, thanks to West Allis Mayor Devine. 

Village of Rothschild President George Peterson is our guest for this month's Local Perspective. George and Jerry talk about the challenges and trends that go into a successful Parks and Recreation program.  Thanks to the Sun Prairie Media Center for producing the show for us. You can watch it here...

The March E-Muni provides you with links to the Pickleball Association, the Montana pedlet, modeled after Mayor Devine's West Allis prototype as well as a plethora of links to Parks and Recreation resources.  
Feb. 2017 Cities and Villages Citizens Guide
February, 2017

What, who and how - the basics of cities and villages are presented in this issue of the Municipality magazine.  Plus Ryan VanLanduyt, President of Wisconsin Community Media and Executive Director of Rice Lake Community Media talks about the current state of communication and League staff go Digging Into Municipal Cemetery Management.  We republish an article from the Wisconsin State Journal on broadband and in legal, Claire Silverman provides details on open meetings law in the event that members of a governing body are attending other meetings. 

Representative John Macco is our guest for this month's League "the Local Perspective."  As Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Macco is leading the charge on what he calls "blowing up" Wisconsin's tax and revenue system.  Thanks to WisconsinEye for producing the show.  Watch the League's February "The Local Perspective"... 

The League's "E-Muni" provides a deep dive into Wisconsin's local government.  Read the League's "E-Muni".... 
1 17 mag. cover
January, 2017

The League’s Board of Directors has adopted an aggressive legislative agenda for the 2017-2018 session detailed in the Municipality. The Board was guided, as always, by the League’s core principles of strengthening local democracy and preserving and enhancing local revenue sources. Read about the opportunities and challenges anticipated in the 2017-18 Legislative Session.  The importance of municipal rental inspection programs is detailed by Mark Rohloff, City Manager, City of Oshkosh and Tom Larson, Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, Wisconsin REALTORS Association discusses the property tax shift that would result if the state eliminates the personal property tax. 

We report on the progress we've made on the League's Legislative Agenda in the January E-Muni and provide you with additional resources on rental unit inspections and a link to the Wisconsin Realtors Association footnotes on personal property tax.

Tom Larson, Wisconsin Realtors Association Senior VP of Legal & Public Affairs talks the Personal Property Tax with Jerry Deschane on the January League Local Perspective.  The WRA opposes eliminating the Personal Property Tax if it creates a shift to real property or if it creates a budget hole for local governments.  Thanks to WSTOTV in Stoughton for producing this show for us.  
December the Municipality - Engagement in the Civic Process
December 2016 

Engagement in the Civic Process is a multi-faceted issue.  It's about citizens engaging with their government in person and online and it is also about citizens running for office.  As Scot Simpson, River Falls City Administrator says in his article on engagement: "It's Everyone's Business." Jerry sat down with Wauwatosa Mayor Ehley and Bayfield Mayor Ringberg to ask them what inspired them to run for Mayor, Nick and Alex fromPolco take on the philosophical and practical considerations of engagement and Hoodstarter details why online crowdsourcing works.  Todd Berry, WisTAX writes about the research whileRich Kremer, WPR digs deeper and interviews village and city officials about the interest, or lack thereof in running for local office. 

Scot Simpson, River Falls City Administrator sat down with Jerry to talk about creating a culture of engagement.  You can watch the League's December "Local Perspective" on YouTube, thanks to FCTV.  

You can read the December E-Muni, the electronic supplement to the magazine here.  We link to many additional resources on civic engagement.  

11 16 Magazine Cover
November 2016 

November's the Municipality is focused on "The Future of Wisconsin," so we sent an email to the clerks asking for photos of "Future Voters of Wisconsin."  We sourced more than 100 and in order to make sure that the photos weren't tiny, and that each child was on the cover, we created three covers for this magazine. 

Futurist Rebecca Ryan takes on the future of Wisconsin government, Jerry Deschane interviewed Lancaster residents in an article entitled "Changing with the Times: The Impact of Hispanic Immigration on One Small City in Wisconsin," plus Jim Wood of Wood Communicationwrites on "Workforce Retention and Recruitment' while Richard Heinemann and Julia Potter of Boardman & Clark LLC details "How Wisconsin Municipalities Can Invest in the New Solar Economy."

Rebecca Ryan brings her wit and analysis but no crystal ball to the discussion she and Jerry Deschane have about the future of Wisconsin in the League's latest Local Perspective.  Thanks to Sun Prairie Media for hosting us!  

The November E-Muni provides resources on the Wisconsin Local Government Center's Trend Report, Wisconsin's demographics, the Monarch challenge as well as a bonus article on the successful Middleton Climate Referendum.  

11 16 Conference theme cover 369 pixels

October 2016 


The October the Municipality highlights the expertise you'll have access to at the League's 118th Annual Conference in Stevens Point.  Charles Carlson, Carlson Dettmann Consulting LLC writes about "Employee Performance and Compensation in the Public Sector" and was one of 30+ presenters at the Annual Conference.  The cover photo is the city's skyline provided by Stevens Point resident Bruno Castelhano.  

Watch the League's "The Local Perspective" interview with Charles Carlson, Carlson Dettmann Consulting, LLC as he dives deeper into the issue of employee compensation thanks to FACTvFitchburg here.  

The League's October E-Muni provides additional resources on compensation, the FLSA overtime rule, the five conference resolutions and Mobile Integrated Health Care's benefit to your community. Read it here.