Procedure for organizing district; initiation.
The procedure for organizing, incorporating, and creating a municipal power district under the provisions of this chapter is as follows:
(1) Initial resolution.
The governing bodies of one-half or more of the municipalities proposed to be included in the district shall first pass resolutions, declaring that public interest or necessity demands the creation and maintenance of a municipal power district to be known as “the .... (giving the name) municipal power district". The resolutions shall name the municipalities to be included in the proposed district. Certified copies of the resolutions shall be presented to the county clerk, requesting the county clerk to call an election without delay for determining whether the district shall be created.
(2) Petition in lieu of resolution.
In lieu of the resolutions provided for by sub. (1)
, a petition may be presented to the county clerk signed by at least 10 percent of the voters in the proposed district. The petition shall declare that, in the opinion of the petitioners, public interest or necessity demands the creation and maintenance of a municipal power district. The petition may be on separate sheets of paper, but each sheet shall contain the affidavit of the person who circulated the sheet, certifying that each name signed on that sheet is the true signature of the person whose name it purports to be.
History: 1997 a. 254
Procedure for organizing district; 2nd step. 198.04(1)(1)
Notice to commission.
Upon receipt of the certified copies of the resolutions adopted under s. 198.03 (1)
or the petition presented under s. 198.03 (2)
, the county clerk shall immediately notify the commission in writing that the municipalities filing the resolutions or those named in the petition as constituting the proposed power district had petitioned the county clerk to call an election without delay for determining whether the district should be created.
(2) Report of commission.
Within 90 days after receipt of the notice of the county clerk under sub. (1)
, the commission shall file with the county clerk its written recommendations as to the feasibility or nonfeasibility of the proposed district with reasons for the commission's recommendations. Certified copies of the commission's recommendations shall at the same time be filed by the commission with the clerk of each municipality included within the proposed district.
(3) Election called.
Upon receipt of the commission's recommendations, or upon expiration of the 90-day period referred to in sub. (2)
, the county clerk shall call without delay an election within the proposed district for the purpose of determining whether the proposed district shall be created.
History: 1993 a. 482
; 1997 a. 254
Every petition or resolution provided for in s. 198.03
shall divide the proposed district into 5 subdistricts, giving each a number, except as provided in s. 198.07 (3)
. In the event that the boundaries of the district as originally proposed are changed at the election, provided for by s. 198.06
, and approved by the commission pursuant to s. 198.06 (5)
, the commission shall make adjustments in the boundaries of the subdistricts that are necessary to comply with s. 198.07
History: 1997 a. 254
Notice of election, publication.
Upon the establishment of subdistricts the county clerk shall give notice of an election to be held within the proposed district for the purpose of determining whether the proposed district shall be created. Such notice shall state the name of the proposed district, and describe its boundaries. The notice shall be published once a week for at least 3 consecutive weeks before the day of the election in some newspaper or newspapers having a general circulation within the proposed district.
(2) Ballot requirements.
The ballot for the election shall be in such form and contain such instructions and shall be of the size required by ss. 5.51
for the referendum ballot, except that there shall appear on the ballot the following:
Shall the.... (giving the name thereof) “municipal power district" be created and established?
YES ⍽ NO ⍽
(3) Election procedure, electors, canvass.
The election, and all matters pertaining to the election not otherwise provided for in this section, shall be conducted and the result ascertained in accordance with the election laws governing the conduct of local elections in the several election districts embraced in such proposed municipal power district, as nearly as may be, and no person may vote at the election unless he or she is a qualified elector of the territory included in the proposed district. The election may be held on the same day as any other state, city, village, town or county election and may be consolidated therewith. The ballots shall be transmitted by the local election authorities to the county board of canvassers of the county containing the largest number of voters within the proposed district, within 5 days after the election.
(4) County canvass of votes, declare result.
The county board of canvassers of the county shall meet on the Monday next succeeding the day of the election and shall canvass the votes cast, and in so doing shall canvass the returns of each municipality separately, and shall order and declare the district created of the municipalities in which a majority of those voting on the proposition voted in favor of the creation of the district, provided, that the total number of voters in the approving municipalities shall be not less than two-thirds of the number of voters within the district as first proposed.
(5) Filing of result, commission approval. 198.06(5)(a)(a)
The board of canvassers shall cause a certified copy of the order declaring the result of the election to be filed in the office of the secretary of state. A certified copy of the order shall also be filed with the clerk of each municipality included in the district, with the county clerk, and with the commission.
If the district as finally constituted comprises a smaller area than originally proposed because of the failure of one or more municipalities to approve the district at the election, the commission shall, within 10 days following the filing of the order under par. (a)
with the commission, file its approval or disapproval of the district as created by the election with the secretary of state, the clerk of each municipality included in the district and the county clerk. If the commission approves, upon the filing of the approval the creation and incorporation of the district shall be considered complete. If the commission disapproves, the district shall be considered dissolved. Except as provided in par. (c)
, the approval or disapproval of the commission shall be final.
In the case of municipal water districts created under s. 198.22
, the approval or disapproval of the commission shall be final unless objection to the commission's decision is made to the commission by one or more of the governing bodies of the municipalities which would otherwise be included in the district.
If a district has been approved by all of the municipalities within the district as proposed, the creation and incorporation of the district shall be considered complete upon the filing of the result of the election with the secretary of state by the board of canvassers.
(6) Expenses of election, payment.
All amounts properly incurred and actually expended by any municipality in publishing notices of any election, in employing persons to conduct the election or in performing other duties imposed upon the municipality or upon the clerk of the municipality by any provision of this chapter shall be paid as other similar expenses of the municipality are paid and shall be a charge in favor of the municipality against the district to be repaid, together with interest thereon at the rate of 6 percent per year, upon the presentation of proper vouchers for the charges by the clerk of the municipality to the district, when and as the district has funds available for that purpose.
(7) Informalities disregarded, limitation of action to test validity of district.
No informality in any proceeding or in the conduct of the election, not substantially affecting adversely the legal rights of any citizen, shall be held to invalidate the creation of any district, and any proceedings wherein the validity of the creation is denied shall be commenced within 3 months from the date of filing the order of the board of canvassers with the secretary of state, otherwise the creation and the legal existence of the district shall be held to be valid and in every respect legal and incontestable.
Board of directors, boundaries. 198.07(1)
The government of each district shall be vested in a board of 5 directors.
The boundaries of the subdistricts shall be drawn so that each shall contain approximately an equal number of voters, except that no municipality shall contain more than 2 subdistricts, nor shall any municipality be divided unless it shall comprise more than one subdistrict.
Where a district includes a municipality that contains more than 50 percent of the voters in the entire district, all of the following apply:
The territory in the district, other than that contained in the municipality described in sub. (3) (intro.)
, shall be divided into 2 subdistricts.
History: 1997 a. 254
Director for each subdistrict.
There shall be a director for each subdistrict who shall be appointed by the chief executives of the municipalities included within said subdistrict.
(2) Appointment; meeting of municipal executive officers.
Within 10 days after the creation and incorporation of a municipal power district is completed the chief executives in each subdistrict containing more than one municipality shall meet for the selection of a director for the subdistrict. The time and place of the meeting shall be designated by the county clerk.
(3) Appointment, vote by municipal executive officers.
In the selection of a director for a subdistrict each chief executive shall have one vote for each 1,000 voters within that chief executive's municipality, or the part of the municipality that is located in the subdistrict. A three-fourths vote shall be necessary for the selection of a director. The result of the selection of the director shall be certified to by the chairperson and clerk of the meeting and immediately filed with the secretary of state and the clerk of each municipality in the district.
Such meeting may adjourn from time to time.
(5) Appointment by executive.
Where a municipality contains 2 subdistricts or where a subdistrict includes only one municipality, the chief executive of the municipality shall select a director for each such subdistrict, and shall immediately file a certified copy of the selection as provided by sub. (3)
(6) Director at large.
Where the selection of a director at large is required such selection shall be made by the governor. A certified copy of such selection shall be filed forthwith by the governor as provided in sub. (3)
(7) Term, oath.
The regular term of directors of the district after the first term shall be 4 years. Each director shall hold office until the director's successor is selected and qualifies. Each director shall, before entering upon the discharge of the director's duties, take and subscribe to the constitutional oath of office. Each director's oath shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the district.
(8) Biennial elections.
The meeting of chief executives for the selection of directors subsequent to the initial selection of directors shall be held within the district on the second Tuesday in April in even numbered years prior to the expiration of the term of any director. The clerk of the district shall designate the time and place of each such meeting. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and in s. 198.09
, every selection of a director subsequent to the initial selection of directors shall be made in the manner provided by this chapter for the initial selection of directors.
Directors selected from odd-numbered subdistricts shall for the first term serve for a period that shall end 2 years after the first Monday of May of the next even-numbered year. Directors selected from even-numbered subdistricts shall for the first term serve for a period which shall end 4 years after the first Monday of May of the next even-numbered year. For the purposes of this section directors at large shall be considered to be from odd-numbered subdistricts.
(10) Election statistics.
The clerk of the district shall seasonably obtain, compile, and file in his or her office, for the information of the public, a statement showing the total number of votes cast for the office of governor in the last preceding general election in each subdistrict of the district. The clerk of every municipality and the elections commission shall furnish such information so far as obtainable from their records, duly certified, to the clerk of the district upon request therefor by the clerk of the district. If the total number of votes cast in any subdistrict for the office of governor in the last preceding election cannot, because of an intervening change of boundaries of election wards or for any reason, be ascertained from any official record the clerk of the district shall fairly estimate such number for the purposes of such statement to be filed in his or her office.
Vacancies, declared, filled.
A director's death, resignation, inability to continue for any cause to act as director or change of residence from the subdistrict in which the director was selected shall vacate that director's office. The board shall by resolution declare the office vacant and a certified copy of the resolution shall be filed immediately by the clerk of the district with the clerk of each municipality included within the district. A successor for the unexpired term shall, within 20 days after the filing of the resolution, be selected by the officer or officers who selected the director whose office has been declared vacant.
History: 1993 a. 482
; 1997 a. 254
Taxable property, taxes.
All real property situated in and all personal property the situs of which for purposes of general property taxation is in the district shall be subject to taxation in and by the district for a direct annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on any indebtedness of the district, and to pay and discharge the principal of the indebtedness within 20 years from the time of contracting the indebtedness.
(2) Annual tax levy, collection.
On or before the first day of October in each year after any indebtedness shall have been incurred by any municipal power district, the board of directors shall certify in writing to the clerks of the several municipalities having territory in said district, the total amount necessary to pay the interest and debt retirement charges on outstanding indebtedness of said district for the ensuing year, and the share thereof that each such municipality must pay. For failure to pay such taxes the same penalties shall apply as for failure to pay other taxes. If any of such taxes shall remain unpaid and become delinquent the same shall be collected and payment thereof enforced in the same manner and by the same officers as other delinquent taxes are collected and payment thereof enforced and the proceeds of such collection and enforcement shall be paid over by the proper officers to the treasurer of the district. All officers of municipalities charged by this section with any duty or authority with respect to the assessment of property for taxation or the collection of any taxes for the benefit of any district shall have the same duties and liabilities with respect to the assessment of property and collection of taxes for the benefit of such district as are imposed upon them by law with respect to the assessment of property and collection of taxes for state and county purposes, except when inconsistent herewith, and shall be subject to the same penalties for any breach or neglect of duty or violation of law with respect thereto as in other cases.
(3) Apportionment of taxes.
Said share shall be determined upon the basis of the proportion which the assessed valuation of any municipality as equalized by the department of revenue bears to the total assessed valuation in all municipalities within said district as equalized by the department of revenue.
(4) Municipal tax levy, clerks' duties.
Upon the receipt of the report from the board of directors as provided for in sub. (2)
each such clerk shall submit the same to the next regular or special meeting of the governing board of said city, village or town and such board shall, by resolution, levy and assess taxes sufficient to pay the same, against all of the taxable property included within the power district in the clerk's municipality. Following such assessment and levy, the clerk of each such municipality shall place the same upon the tax roll to be collected as other taxes are collected upon all of the taxable property within said municipality, and such moneys when collected shall be paid by the treasurer of each such municipality to the treasurer of such municipal power district.
(5) Utility property taxed.
All utility property of every municipal power district, except a municipal water district created under s. 198.22
, shall be assessed and taxed in the manner provided by law for the assessment and taxation of privately owned public utilities.
History: 1993 a. 482
; 1997 a. 254
Compensation and expenses of directors. 198.11(1)(1)
Each director of the district shall receive compensation from the district for the director's services as a director at the rate of $10 for each day that the director attends meetings of the board or of any committee of the board of which the director is a member, when the meeting of the committee is authorized by vote or resolution of the board, except that the compensation paid to a director shall not exceed $1,000 in any one year. Each director shall also be entitled to be reimbursed for the actual and necessary traveling and hotel expenses incurred by the director whenever it shall be necessary for the director to travel outside of the municipality in which the director resides to attend meetings of the board or a committee of the board of which the director is a member or to render any other service or discharge any other duty to the district which may be required of the director by law or by vote or resolution of the board.
The compensation of directors and amounts due them as reimbursement for expenses shall be paid at the end of each month upon itemized statements duly verified. Such statements shall be in such form as the clerk of the district shall prescribe and shall be audited and, if found true and correct, approved by the clerk of the district. When so audited and approved the amounts so approved shall be paid to the directors entitled thereto by the treasurer of the district out of the general fund of the district.
History: 1993 a. 482
; 1997 a. 254
Corporate powers of district. 198.12(1)
Same as municipalities.
Any district organized under the provisions of this chapter, shall have the right of perpetual succession, may sue and be sued, may take by eminent domain, grant, purchase, gift, devise, or lease or otherwise acquire and hold real and personal property of every kind within or without the district necessary to the full or convenient exercise of its powers, and may make contracts and do such other acts as shall be necessary and proper in the exercise of the powers and privileges granted and in the performance of the duties charged upon it and exercise such other or different powers as shall be conferred by law.
(2) Service of process on, personal injury claims, venue.
The district shall sue or be sued in its corporate name and service of process upon the district shall be by service upon the chairperson of the board and the clerk of the district, but no action shall be brought or maintained against a district upon a claim or cause of action unless the claimant complies with s. 893.80
. Compliance with s. 893.80
is not required under this subsection in actions commenced under s. 19.37
. All actions by or against the district, except condemnation proceedings and actions to which the state or any officer or commission thereof is a party, shall be brought in the circuit court for the county in which its principal administrative office is located.
(3) Subject to chapter 102.
From the time when any district shall first operate any utility, it shall be held to be an employer, subject to ch. 102
(4) Mode of exercising powers.
The district shall act through and by ordinance, resolution or vote of its board of directors, or by its other duly constituted officers or agents acting within the scope of such authority as may be conferred upon them by law, or by lawful ordinance, resolution or vote of the board of directors.
(5) Chapter 196 applies.
Any utility operated by a district shall be held to be a “public utility" within the meaning of that term as used in and subject to ss. 196.01
(6) Utilities, acquire, construct, operate; water power; sale of service; use of streets.
The district shall have power and authority to own, acquire and, subject to the restrictions applying to a municipality under s. 196.50 (4)
, to construct any utility or portion thereof to operate, in whole or in part, in the district, and to own, acquire and, subject to ss. 196.01
where applicable, to construct any addition to or extension of any such utility, and to own, acquire and construct any water power and hydroelectric power plant, within or without the district, to be operated in connection with any such utility, and to operate, maintain and conduct such utility and water power and hydroelectric power plant and system both within and without the district, and to furnish, deliver and sell to the public and to any municipality and to the state and any state institution heat, light and power service and any other service, commodity or facility which may be produced or furnished thereby, and to charge and collect rates, tolls and charges for the same. For said purposes the district is granted and shall have and exercise the right freely to use and occupy any public highway, street, way or place reasonably necessary to be used or occupied for the maintenance and operation of such utility or any part thereof, subject, however, to such local police regulations as may be imposed by any ordinance adopted by the governing body of the municipality in which such highway, street, way or place is located.
Acquisition of private utilities; dissolution of power district. 198.13(1)(1)
Upon the completion of the creation and incorporation of any district every right existing by virtue of any law or by virtue of any franchise or indeterminate permit, granted by the state directly or through any municipality, to purchase or acquire, on behalf of the public or of any municipality in such district, in whole or in part any public utility operating in whole or in part in such district, shall henceforth inure to and vest in and be exercised by such district. Every public grant, either by the state directly or through any municipality heretofore or hereafter granted to or held, owned or exercised by the owner or by the lessee or receiver of the owner of any such utility or any permit, privilege, right, or franchise to operate the same is hereby made subject to the express conditions that such district may purchase, acquire and take such utility, in whole or in part, in the manner provided in this chapter, and the continued operation of any such utility from and after the organization of such district by the owner or by the lessee or receiver of the owner shall be held to be an acceptance of and consent by the owner to said condition.
From and after the organization of any district, no permit, privilege, right or franchise shall be granted to construct or operate any utility therein or to construct or operate therein any extension of or addition to any utility for which any permit, privilege, right or franchise may be required, except by the board of such district, except as to local ordinances governing the use of public streets, alleys, ways, and places. Every permit, privilege, right or franchise granted by any power district shall be subject to the condition prescribed in sub. (1)
with respect to purchase, acquisition and taking by the proper district and shall be an indeterminate permit subject to the terms and conditions of this chapter and of s. 196.50
Under any of the following circumstances a power district shall be considered dissolved:
If within 2 years of its creation a district has not become the owner or operator, or commenced construction, of a public utility. Any time consumed in any proceeding or contest before any commission or court shall not be included as part of the 2-year period.
If a district has disposed of all of its utility property and for one year thereafter has not owned or operated a public utility.
Any district dissolved in accordance with sub. (3)
shall nevertheless continue to be a body corporate, subject to the limitations on its activities under s. 181.1405
In the event of dissolution, a district shall first retire all outstanding obligations of the district insofar as the proceeds derived from the disposal of its utility property will permit. All assets or proceeds remaining, if any, shall be distributed to municipalities within the boundaries of the district in proportion to the taxes levied and collected by them for the district during the existence of the district, up to an amount sufficient to repay all of those taxes. Any proceeds remaining after repayment of the taxes shall be distributed to the municipalities within the boundaries of the district in proportion to the shares of the gross operating revenues of the district for its last full 5 years of operation derived from payments for services furnished within the boundaries of each such municipality.
Powers of district board.
The board of directors of any district shall have power and authority:
To adopt a corporate seal for the district and prescribe the style thereof.
(2) Mode of exercise.
To exercise by vote, ordinance or resolution all of the general powers of the district.
(3) Grant permits.
To grant by ordinance indeterminate permits, subject to the conditions prescribed in ss. 196.50
, for the construction or operation of utilities and extensions and additions thereto in the district but subject to local ordinances governing the use thereby of public streets, alleys, ways and places therein, but such ordinance shall be published as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, not more than 20 nor less than 10 days before its adoption.
(4) Purchases, sales, conveyances.
To lease, purchase, sell, convey and mortgage the property of the district and to authorize and order all instruments, contracts, deeds or mortgages to be executed on behalf of the district by the chairperson of the board and the clerk of the district, except that the sale or lease of any public utility equipment in excess of 10 percent of the book value of the utility property of the district shall be made as nearly as may be in accordance with s. 66.0817
, except that the commission shall have no power to determine whether the interests of the district and the residents thereof will be best served by the sale or lease nor to fix the price and terms thereof other than to furnish the clerk of said district with its written recommendations thereon within 90 days.
To authorize to be appointed and employed and fix the compensation of such employees as may be required for carrying on the business of the district.
To designate and appoint a suitable and responsible depository or depositories for the deposit and safekeeping of the funds of the district and to contract with such depository or depositories with respect thereto and the rate of interest to be paid the district on such deposits.
(7) Temporary loans.
To borrow money for terms not exceeding ninety days, subject to the limitation of total indebtedness of the district contained in s. 198.14 (9)
. Such temporary loans shall constitute a first lien on the revenue of the district after the payment of interest on, and retirement of, bonds, and after the payment of taxes.
(8) Eminent domain.
To exercise the power of eminent domain and to condemn lands or any interest in lands including water powers, whether located within or without the district, whenever the same are necessary for the construction, operation, improvement or extension of any utility owned, or to be owned by the district and, in that behalf, to authorize condemnation proceedings to be instituted and prosecuted by the general counsel of the district in the name of the district and at its cost and expense and otherwise in the manner prescribed by law.
(9) Bond issues, debt limit.
To provide by ordinance for the issuance and sale of bonds of the district to finance the purchase, acquisition or construction of any utility or parts of the utility or additions, extensions or betterments to the utility, that may be authorized, to authorize and require the execution of the bonds by the chairperson of the board and the clerk of the district under the corporate seal of the district and to approve the form of the bonds and prescribe the duties of the clerk and treasurer of the district with respect to the sale of the bonds and the application of the proceeds to the purposes for which the bonds were issued. Bonds issued under this subsection shall be subject to all of the following:
The total amount of all indebtedness of the district shall not exceed 5 percent of the assessed value of the taxable property in the district, to be ascertained by the last preceding assessment for the state and county taxes.
The ordinance authorizing the indebtedness shall levy a direct, annual, district tax sufficient to pay the interest on the debt as it becomes due, and to pay the principal of the debt within 20 years from the time of contracting the debt.
All of the bonds shall mature in annual installments. The first installment of principal shall be due and payable not later than 2 years after the date of issue. The sum of the principal and interest due in any year after the first year shall not exceed the sum of the principal and interest due in any previous year by more than a denomination of a single bond issued.
All of the bonds shall contain a provision requiring redemption of the bond, in whole or in part, at the option of the district on any interest payment date after 3 years from the date of the bonds.