News Flash

Posted on: June 29, 2018

Determining the Residency of Municipal Officers

At the time they are elected, members of municipal governing bodies and other local elected officers must be resident electors of the municipality. Common council members representing aldermanic districts must not only reside within the city . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality July 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Special Assessments--A Common Way to Recover Costs of Public Improvements

Several months ago a state legislator called me into his office to discuss
a question he had received from a constituent. The constituent had called to complain about the city charging her a special assessment of over $1,000 for sidewalk and curb . . .

Curt Witynski in July 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Managing the Risks of Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (“TIF”) is a local economic development tool that can be an essential ingredient in making a development project happen. However, financing
a development project can expose a municipality and its taxpayers to significant . . .

Matthew Dregne, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP July 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Act 243 Constrains Municipal Development Authority

The Developers bill (2017 AB 770), so called because it was sought by
the Wisconsin REALTORS and the Wisconsin Builders Associations and limits municipal powers to regulate development and recover the cost of serving new development, was signed . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality June 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

The Latest Landlords Legislation--A Description of Act 317

The following description of municipally relevant provisions in Act 317, the Landlords' legislation, is lifted with minor changes from a memo prepared by Wisconsin Legislative Council Principal Attorney Scott Grosz. The League appreciates . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality June 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 28, 2018

Board of Review

Each year, spring brings a mix of showers and sunshine. Much like the weather, property taxes provide a healthy foundation for funding local government services. To ensure the effectiveness of this process, fair and equitable taxation is essential.

Micheal Drea, April 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: June 28, 2018

Collecting Room Taxes from Airbnb and other Short-term Rentals

Despite recent changes made to the room tax law designed to help municipalities receive room taxes from short-term rental properties advertising on Airbnb and other online services, the reality is that little has changed in Wisconsin.

Curt Witynski, April 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: March 14, 2018

Municipal Regulation of "Click and Collect" Alcohol Sales

“Click and Collect” describes a practice where consumers order online from a retailer’s website and then pick up their orders at a local store. The use of Click and Collect . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality March 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

An Overview of Municipal Library Board

his article revises and updates an article written and published in the February 2014 issue of The Municipality. Wisconsin’s libraries are a tremendous resource, important to the democratic process, and play a critical role . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality February 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Legislature Curtails Municipal Conditional Use Permit Authority

The Wisconsin legislature enacted major changes to local zoning authority laws in 2017 that were urged and promoted by developers but described by its legislative supporters as a “homeowners” bill of rights. Nonetheless, the laws passed. . . .

Daniel Olson the Municipality February 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Public Records Law Application to Individual Local Officials

Most public records requests are handled by municipal clerks, treasurers, administrators, or department heads, and involve records that are routinely created or kept by municipalities in the normal course of business.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality January 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Agenda Control and Presiding Officers

Although agendas are not required
by any state law, many governmental bodies, by custom or procedural rule, use them. They serve important practical purposes by providing a structure that facilitates efficient and effective use of meeting time . . . .

Daniel Olson December 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Items in the State Budget Affecting Municipalities

After nearly three months of legislative delay, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2018 state budget bill into law
as Act 59 on September 21. Like all state budgets, Act 59 is a mixed bag for municipalities, although positive changes slightly . . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When is a Street a Street?

When is a street a street? Although the question posed by this title may sound like a riddle or the lead-in to a joke, being unable to answer that question is no laughing matter when the outcome is important to those with a stake in the issue.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Is Your Website Accessible to People with Disabilities?

Local governments are increasingly finding that municipal websites are a cost-effective and efficient way to make information available to the public
24-7 without the direct assistance of government personnel. Not surprisingly . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When are Committees "Governmental Bodies" Under the Open Meeting Law?

In State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School Dist. Bd. Of Educ., 2017 WI 70, the Wisconsin Supreme Court attempted to clarify when a committee constitutes a "governmental body" for purposes of the open meeting law after Krueger, a parent . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a case law update summarizing cases decided within the last year that affect municipalities but not including U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Part 1 was published in the August issue of The Municipality.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Sept 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Wisconsin Takings Case

The U.S. Supreme Court decided a major regulatory takings case last week, ending a Wisconsin land-use battle that lasted more than a dozen years. See Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214 (U.S. June 23, 2017). It is not common for
a case to jump . . . .

Jeffrey A. Mandell, the Municipality August 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2-part case law update summarizing Wisconsin appellate and 7th circuit decisions affecting Wisconsin municipalities.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Aug 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Court Rejects Substantial Zoning and Planning Law Changes

The City of Fitchburg (City) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities
(League) recently won an important Wisconsin Supreme Court case for local government control over municipal zoning, planning, and development.

Daniel Olson, the Municipality July 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: May 22, 2017

Parliamentary Procedure for Local Officials

It is a pretty good guess that most Wisconsin city councils, village boards and their sub-units utilize Robert's Rules of Order as the rules of procedure for their respective body even though no state law requires they be utilized. . . .

Daniel Olson the Municipality June 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: May 22, 2017

Municipal Authority Over Real Property Inspections and Registrations Recently Limited

Many municipalities have property registration and inspection ordinances to ehlp ensure that they have important information regarding buildings within the municipality . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality April 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 8, 2017

Wisconsin Park Boards: Roles, Responsibilities & Rulemaking

The spotlight and attention in Wisconsin city and village government is most often focused on city councils, village boards, planning commissions, community development authorities, and similar governmental bodies with the legal authority . . . .

by Daniel Olson March 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

When must body provide notice under open meeting law that its members are attending other meetings?

League attorneys have received many questions about correspondence sent from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office of Open Government to Winnebago County relating to whether it is necessary to provide notice under the open meetings. . . .

by Claire Silverman February 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

Dealing with Common Winter Issues

In a 1984 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, former Justice Louis Ceci penned, “Snow is ubiquitous in the state of Wisconsin during the winter months…”1 Although snow does not seem to be quite as “ubiquitous” in Wisconsin during the winter months . . . .

by Claire Silverman January 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 7, 2017

Social Host Ordinances Should be Reviewed

In recent years, many municipalities have enacted social host ordinances aimed at preventing adults from hosting underage drinking parties at private homes. Certain provisions in those ordinances are likely unenforceable. . .

by Claire Silverman January 2017 Legal Articles