Propane Crisis Information Updates -
Governor's Emergency Order #132
Overrides Local Weight Limits
(4/18/14) Persistent very cold weather has created an ongoing propane crisis in Wisconsin of exploding prices and short supplies needed to keep homes and businesses warm. Please click on the below items for the latest updates on what the state government is doing on this issue:
In addition, Governor Walker signed the following bill into law on Thursday March 27th, 2014:
Assembly Bill 770 – creates an emergency heating assistance loan guarantee program. It will allow families to obtain financing of up to $2,500 through a participating lender with a guarantee of 50 to 80 percent on original amount borrowed. Assembly Bill 770 makes financing more affordable by providing a one-time payment of 3.5 percent to reduce the interest rate on the loan. The bill passed the Assembly 94-1 and unanimously passed the Senate; it is Act 175.
DOT Town Hall Meetings in April and May Announced
(3/6/14) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced nine "Town Hall Meetings" to be held around the state in April and May to reach out to people on the needs of transportation in our state and the future funding of these needs.
Wisconsin Towns Association would ask town and village officers across the state to try to attend one of the "Town Hall Meetings" in their area to promote the need for more local transportation aids for towns, villages, and counties. Local highways are being asked to carry heavier and heavier vehicles, whether they are implements of husbandry, logging trucks, or trucking for other heavy industries such as frac sand mines. Local governments have needs that cannot be met without additional state funds to maintain both highways and bridges in the local highway system.
The “Town Hall Meetings” will also discuss possible future funding sources for transportation. Wisconsin Towns Association has supported raising additional funds for transportation in the past if a fair share was allocated to local highways. We expect we would do so in the future.
We encourage all towns and villages to send representatives to one of these "Town Hall Meetings" and make your voices heard!
New State Law Regarding Licensure
of Electricians & Implementing Grandfathering
(4/11/14) 2013 Wisconsin Act 143 established new licensure standards for electricians which went into effect on April 1, 2014. These standards require all individuals (see Act 143 for exemptions) engaged in the business of installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical wiring be licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). The new licensure law does not apply to any person with 15 years of experience who was born on or before January 1, 1956. The DSPS will create administrative rules and licensure processes to verify this experience requirement and provide licenses to these persons. The Department is currently drafting an Emergency Rule to address these needs quickly, and plans to establish permanent rules in 2015. Until the time that rules are promulgated, electricians who meet these requirements, or grandfather clause, may continue to practice. In order to remain in compliance, the DSPS recommends municipalities verify eligibility for the grandfather clause in two ways: 1) Confirm date of birth is on or prior to January 1, 1956; 2) Collect verbal attestation that the individual has 15 years of experience. Once rules have been promulgated, this practice will no longer be considered compliant by the DSPS.
Community Development Block Grant Workshops
(3/25/14) Registration is now open for the Community Development Block Grant – Public Facilities (CDBG-PF) and Planning (CDBG-PLNG) Programs Applications Workshops! The dates, times, and locations for the Application Workshops are as follows:
The agendas for both workshops are linked above. If you wish to register for either session, please email the following information to DOACDBG@wisconsin.gov by 5pm on April 4th (for the Madison workshop) or by 5pm on April 18th (for the WI Rapids workshop):
The chosen session/location;
The Attendee’s full name;
The Attendee’s phone number;
The Attendee’s email address;
The Attendee’s job title (i.e. “Clerk”, “Treasurer”, “Mayor”, “Village President”, “Consultant”, etc.); and
The name of the local community that the Attendee will be representing.
Please feel free to forward this message to additional interested parties.
Bureau of Community Development
Division of Housing
Department of Administration
Emerald Ash Borer Toolbox
(1/30/14) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has compiled information and samples to help communities deal with the invasive emerald ash borer that is responsible for destroying ash trees. Please CLICK HERE to be taken to this website.
2014 WTA Scholarship Competition
(1/21/14) CLICK HERE for a brochure describing the rules for the 2014 Wisconsin Towns Association Scholarship Program, funded together with our scholarship partners Rural Mutual Insurance Company and Scott Construction, Inc. All applicants must be graduating from a Wisconsin public or private high school in 2014 and plan to attend a Wisconsin public or private college or vocational technical institute in 2014. Several prizes will be awarded.
This year's topic is: "What does local control mean for town government and why is it important in 2014?" The deadline for submisssions is May 30th, 2014. Good luck to all applicants! CLICK HERE for the application form to be sent in together with the essay and CLICK HERE if you would like to see the cover letter sent to schools.
Latest Issue of Crossroads
(12/18/13) The latest issue of Crossroads newsletter is out now. Your copy is available for download if you CLICK HERE. Inside, you’ll find:
A discussion of roundabouts as one option to improve the safety and operation of intersections and review of new criteria for roundabout planning and design in the FDM.
News of revised safety priorities in the draft Strategic Highway Safety Plan that local road officials can begin to incorporate into their own projects.
Reasons why good communication is important in local government and ideas for reaching the public with clear and consistent messages.
A recap of the fall calibration workshops for salt and sand spreaders with notes on what participants learned in hands-on demos.
Details about a February deadline for HSIP funding applications and news about the addition of Safety Edge to WisDOT Standard Specifications.
PLUS helpful Resources and the Calendar of upcoming workshops, seminars and training programs.
bgggbbbdsagfrRifle Hunting in Formerly Shotgun-Only Gun-Deer
Hunting Zones This Upcoming 2013 Seasonifle fiifl
(10/21/13) The DNR has eliminated shotgun-only gun-deer hunting zones in time for this year's gun-deer season beginning on November 23, 2013. While the rule change was originally driven in part by citizen input, there is at this time citizen input to local municipalities to keep shotgun-only gun-deer hunting zones by local ordinances to restrict the discharge of firearms, or at least certain types of them (rifles). Please use the links below for more information:
CLICK HERE for a packet of information from the DNR.
CLICK HERE for an article by WTA attorney Lee Turonie explaining the issue of possibly trying to use local ordinances to recreate shotgun-only gun-deer hunting zones.
Wis. Stat. Section 82.03(2) WTA Resolution
(10/17/13) Please CLICK HERE for a sample resolution proposing that WTA should seek a legislative change to Wis. Stat. s. 82.03(2). The statute requires town meeting of electors approval to annually spend more than $5,000 per mile of town highway in total highway spending. The resolution recommends amending s. 82.03(2) to require town meeting of elector approval instead when planning to exceed $10,000 per mile of town highway in total annual highway spending.
NATaT Legislative Update
(1/8/14) WTA posts weekly legislative updates from the National Association of Towns and Townships. Please see the current as well as past issues on the Legislative page.
New Mobile (Cell) Tower Siting
Ordinance Sample Available
(8/7/13) The recent passage of the state budget included the creation of a new statute, Wis. Stat. s. 66.0404, that serves to make obsolete existing municipal regulations on mobile (cell) towers. Please CLICK HERE for an advance copy of WTA Atty. Lee Turonie's September newsletter article on the topic. Also CLICK HERE for a sample ordinance to review with your municipal attorney.