State Senate Passes Bills Affecting Municipalities:

On March 11, 2014, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a number of bills that will affect municipalities. A short summary of these bills is provided below. A number of bills affecting municipalities will be addressedduring the March 18, 2014 Assembly session. Stay tuned for updates!

Tax Incremental Districts

2013 Senate Bill 252 allows the Department of Revenue to redetermine the base value of a Tax Incremental District (TID) under certain conditions. Currently, the DOR is authorized to redetermine the TID’s tax incremental base only if a local planning commission amends the project plan of a TID. Under this bill, a city or village can require the DOR to redetermine a TID’s tax incremental base by completing a financial analysis, amending the project plan, and adopting a resolution. First, the municipality must complete a financial analysis that includes items such as the annual and total amount of tax increments to be generated over the life of the district and the annual debt service costs on bonds issued by the municipality. Second, the municipality must amend the project plan to include one of the following three provisions: (1) that at least 51% of the value of the public infrastructure improvements in the district be financed by a private entity, (2) that the municipality expects all project costs to be paid within 90% of the proposed TID’s remaining life, or (3) that expenditures may generally be made only within the first half of the proposed TID’s remaining life. Finally, the city or village then must adopt a resolution, subject to joint review board approval, requiring the DOR to redetermine the base value of a TID if the district is in a “decrement situation.” A “decrement situation” exists if the current value of a TID is at least 10% below base value for two consecutive years. The DOR can charge a $1,000 fee to municipalities requesting the redetermination.


2013 Senate Bill 265 slightly modifies the method for appointment of election inspectors. The bill provides that when two or more inspectors will be required at a polling place with respect to some function, an equal number of inspectors from the two main political parties should be assigned, if practicable. This is a slight change from the current law which allows one more inspector to be assigned from the party that won the last major election than the remaining party.

2013 Assembly Bill 89 changes the requirements for election returns. Currently, wards cannot be combined. The bill allows municipalities with a population of 35,000 or more to provide by resolution that election returns from any ward with a population of 20 or less can be combined with the returns for an adjacent ward. This provision applies unless separate returns are required to determine the election results. A municipality may not combine wards if combination would exceed the specified population range.

2013 Assembly Bill 606 reduces the number of electors' signatures required on the nomination papers for an alderperson not elected from an aldermanic district in a second or third class city to not less than 100 nor more than 200. This is decrease from the prior signature requirement of not less than 200 nor more than 400.

These bills have not yet become effective and are subject to veto by the Governor.

Thank you to Marney Hoefer, Jordan Corning, Holly Wilson and Liz Stephens for their assistance on this entry.

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