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 official or staff of a League member municipality and are not receiving the magazine please email the League and we will add you to the subscription list.

If you are not a member of the League and would like to subscribe please use the online order form.  The subscription rate is $25 annually. 
8 18 FINAL COVER ELECTION ENGAGEMENT

August, 2018 

Now is the time to work on your relationship with Legislators and candidates. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards has encouraged their members to hold candidate forums and we urge you to do the same - and even to partner with your school districts. Yunji Kim details what she's learned in her research on fiscal stress in Wisconsin and River Valley Bank provides best practices for writing an RFP.

7 18 Stressing Over Growth

July, 2018

We hear from the Wisconsin Policy Forum about new construction and how that determinant of levy limit growth has failed to keep up with community services.  Dr. Yunji Kim, UW Local Government Center tells us more about the impact of levy limits in other states and Chuck Law and Beth Richmond provide a brief history of 25 years of Business Improvement Districts in Wisconsin.  In addition, Curt Witynski provides a legal note on special assessments.  

The July E-Muni, with resources from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, UW-Extension Local Goverment Center and links to information on Special Assessments is here

6 18 Collage of League Lobbying

June, 2018

The lawmaking part of the 2017-18 Legislative Session has concluded and, as Curt says in his extensive summary article, it was mostly positive for municipalities.  Thanks to everyone that advocated on behalf of their city or village. Legislators are taking notice!

Curt Witynski talks with Jerry Deschane about his career path and how the sausage is made at the Capitol in this month's Local Perspective. Watch it here.  Thanks to FACTv in Fitchburg for hosting us!

The E-Muni provides you with direct links to additional resources on everything in June's The Municipality magazine including the Landlord Bill, Development Authority & Legislative Update.  Read it here..

5 18 Wisconsin's ARTS CENTERS

May, 2018

Wisconsin's vibrant Creative Economy is evident in Arts Centers across the state. We hear from Baraboo Mayor Palm on the restoration of the Al. Ringling Theatre and learn from Anne Katz of Arts Wisconsin what it takes to build and maintain an arts center. The League, together with Arts Wisconsin, celebrates our third annual Creative Economy Week May 12-19 with a proclamation. You'll want to read the take-aways from the report on "Gaining and Maintaining Young People in Wisconsin Communities" by Randy Stoecker and Allyson Watson. The Local Perspective "Take 1" is an interesting conversation with Randy and Allyson. Thanks to Sun Prairie Media Center!  

The Waupaca Arts and Culture Plan and their new Wautopia Festival is the Local Perspective " Take 2" great conversation that we had with Henry Veleker, City Administrator and Marci Reynolds, Waupaca Community Arts Board. Thanks to Oshkosh Media for producing the show!  You can watch it here.  

Brain Drain, plus direct links to Creative Economy resources, many videos and much more.  Read the E-Muni here

4 18 Festivals and Tourism

April, 2018

"Festivalization" is the word of the day and the theme of the April magazine. Many community festivals were featured in the cover article and even more in the article by Wis. Dept. of Tourism Secretary Klett and by Julia Hertel in her article on working with destination marketing organizations. There's also an article on room taxes and short-term rentals and a great explanation of Boards of Review.  

The City of Altoona's new community center and the unique origin of the Village of Winneconne's festival plus the ins and outs of creating community is the topic on the League's "The Local Perspective" show. Watch it on the League's YouTube Channel.  

The E-Muni is chock full of links to resources like Board of Review Training and help with short term rental licensing. Read it here.

3 18 Public Health Zika under a microscope

March 2018

While health is often seen as a personal responsibility, there are many municipal actions and policies that can contribute to a healthy community. In the March, the Municipality magazine we hear from Appleton on their Health in All Policies, from COWs on the Legacy Community Alliance for Health and from the North Shore Health Department on the contribution toward health made by Health Departments across the state. The Legal Article outlines a municipalities regulation of "Click & Collect" Alcohol Sales. It's also Women's History Month plus we hear about commercial building plan review.

Ann Christiansen, Health Director/Officer of the North Shore Health Department is Jerry's guest on the March, "The Local Perspective."  Jerry and Ann have a wide-ranging conversation about the responsibilities, challenges and opportunities of Wisconsin's public health professionals. Watch the League's "The Local Perspective" on YouTube.

Additional public health, health in all policies, green tier and "click and collect" alcohol sales and other resources are in the March E-Muni.  

2 18 FINAL COVER

February, 2018 

Everything libraries, including lots of comments curated from Facebook and Twitter from library staff and even a few patrons is the theme of the February, the Municipality magazine. Claire Silverman also weighs in with "An Overview of Municipal Library Boards" and outlines the important changes for Board of Review and Assessors. Daniel Olson provides an article on the restrictions placed on conditional use permit authority by the Legislature. We also highlight "Building Home," the League's first video and the new #LocalGovMatters podcast.  

Marge Loch-Wouters and Plumer Lovelace, III of the Wisconsin Library Association are talking about all things libraries on the League's “The Local Perspective.” Jerry Deschane, League Executive Director hosts this monthly half hour show. Thanks to Sun Prairie Media Center for hosting us! You can watch it on the League's YouTube Channel here...

The February E-Muni provides a deep dive into all things Libraries, including the popular #SelfieIntheStacks hashtag.  We also provide additional resources on Library Boards plus more information on Conditional Use Permits. Read it here... 

1 18 FINAL COVER

January, 2018 

With this issue of the Municipality, the League is beginning a broader conversation about a more sustainable system of funding local government in Wisconsin. We start with the City of South Milwaukee sharing their story of their successful public safety referendum, hear from Curt about the general experiences municipalities who have tried a referendum have had, and learn more from Rob Henken, the new Wisconsin Policy Forum Director, about how the unique revenue system that Milwaukee and every other city and village find themselves in is failing to keep up with the needed services.  In addition, Claire Silverman provides an extensive article on Public Records Law and it's application to individual local officials and Curt Witynski outlines how to use the last year of TIF increment to benefit affordable housing. WEDC also tells us more about the Certified in Wisconsin Program and DWD outlines their workforce resources that can benefit your businesses.    

Let's start this conversation.  Is local government financing broken in Wisconsin?  Rob Henken, President of the Wisconsin Policy Forum takes on that issue with Jerry on this month's "The Local Perspective."  Thanks to Monona Community Media, you can watch it here... 

The January E-Muni provides additional resources on referendums, using the last year of TIF increment, open records and more. Read it

12 17 FINAL Magazine COVER - state capitol by drone

December, 2017

Strengthening Our Democracy is our theme and our hope for Wisconsin. You'll want to read Jerry Deschane's article advocating for a different mindset for government - he's entitled it "For Profit Government?"  The Elections and the Ethics Commissions provide advice to anyone running for office and we reprint an article with permission by the Knight Foundation on the winners of the "Joy of Voting."  We also get in just under the wire a fascinating article celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the State Capitol and, in a lengthy legal article, Daniel Olson takes on "Agenda Control and Presiding Officers."

For Profit Govt plus Elections, Ethics and Agenda Control - it's all in the December E-Muni, the electronic supplement to the Municipality.  Read it here... 

November mag Streets and Roads Cover

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.  

Roads and Streets expert Stephen Podloski, of the Transportation Information Center was Jerry's guest on the League's Local Perspective. You can watch it thanks to Monona Community Media here.  

Completely Naked Roads and all things State Budget is our November E-Muni

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...