In counties with a population of 500,000 or more where parcel identification numbers are used in the tax roll for taxes based on the value of property in municipalities, any conveyance, as defined in s. 706.01 (4)
, of any interest in real estate located in such a municipality shall contain reference to the parcel identification number affected. The parcel identification number shall be required for the recording of the conveyance.
In counties with a population of less than 500,000 where parcel identification numbers are used in the tax roll for taxes based on the value of property in municipalities, any conveyance, as defined in s. 706.01 (4)
, of any interest in real estate located in such a municipality shall contain reference to the parcel identification number affected if the county in which the parcel is located enacts an ordinance that requires the use of such a number in a conveyance. The parcel identification number shall be required for the recording of the conveyance, for administrative purposes only, if the county enacts an ordinance under this paragraph.
(8) Required signature and seal on survey document for filing or recording.
It is unlawful for the register of deeds of any county or any proper public authority to file or record a map, plat, survey, or other document within the definition of the practice of professional land surveying under s. 443.01 (6s)
, which does not have impressed thereon, and affixed thereto, the personal signature and seal of a professional land surveyor under whose responsible charge the map, plat, survey, or other document was prepared. This subsection does not apply to any deed, contract, or other recordable document prepared by an attorney, or to an order, including any map or other document filed with the order, that is recorded under subch. I
or VI of ch. 77
A register of deeds shall maintain an index for the real estate record series that contains at least all of the following:
Number of the instrument that is consecutive and unique within the record series.
The document number, and if given on the instrument, the volume and page where the instrument is recorded or filed.
To whom the instrument is delivered, unless the document is kept on file.
The index shall be accessible and searchable by at least all of the following means:
Document number, or volume and page where the instrument is recorded or filed.
By tract of land parcel if the county has a tract index.
In the case of assignments, satisfactions and partial releases of mortgages, and subordination of mortgages, the index shall also contain the document number or volume and page of the original mortgage instrument whenever that original mortgage instrument is referenced on the document.
With regard to affidavits of corrections of filed documents, the register shall include at least one of the following notations on the filed document:
The document number of the affidavit of correction.
The volume and page number where the affidavit of correction is filed, and the date when the affidavit is filed.
(11) Record of attachments, lis pendens, etc.
A register of deeds shall file or record, and index in the real estate records index, every writ of attachment or certified copy of such a writ and certificate of real estate attached, every certificate of sale of real estate, and every notice of the pendency of an action affecting real estate, which may be filed or recorded in the register's office.
(12) Destruction, transfer of documents; recording, indexing documents. 59.43(12)(a)(a)
The board of any county may, upon request of the register of deeds, authorize the destruction of all obsolete documents pertaining to chattels antedating by 6 years, including final books of entry.
A board may, upon request of the register of deeds, authorize the destruction of all documents pertaining to town mutual insurance companies that were formerly required to be filed under ch. 202
, 1971 stats., and that under s. 612.81
no longer have to be filed and all documents pertaining to stock corporations that were formerly required to be recorded under ch. 180
, 1987 stats., and that under ch. 180
no longer have to be recorded. At least 60 days prior to the proposed destruction, the register of deeds shall notify in writing the state historical society which may order delivery to it of any records of historical interest. The state historical society may, upon application, waive the notice.
In a county where the board has established a system of recording and indexing by means of electronic data processing, machine printed forms, or optical disc storage, the process of typing, keypunching, other automated machines, or optical imaging may be used to replace any handwritten entry or endorsement as described in this subsection or in sub. (1c)
. The various documents and indexes may also be combined into a general document file with one numbering sequence and one index at any time.
The board by ordinance may require the register of deeds to keep a tract index such that records containing valid descriptions of land may be searched by all of the following:
Quarter-sections of land or government lots within the county, the boundaries of which refer to the public land survey system or a recorded private claim, as defined in s. 236.02 (9m)
Recorded and filed certified survey map and lot or outlot number.
Recorded and filed plat, by name and lot, block, outlot or unit within the plat, according to the description of the land.
No index established under par. (a)
may be discontinued, unless the county establishing the index adopts, keeps and maintains a complete abstract of title to the real estate in the county as a part of the records of the office of the register of deeds of that county.
If the board determines that a tract index system is unfit for use, the board may, by resolution, establish a new and corrected tract index. Any person who is authorized by the board to compile the new tract index shall have access to the old tract index and any other county records that may assist the person in compiling the new tract index. Upon completion, and approval by the board, of the new tract index system, the old tract index system shall be preserved as provided in s. 59.52 (3) (b)
. The resolutions of the board ordering, approving and adopting the new tract index systems, certified by the clerk, shall be recorded in each volume of the new tract index system and upon the resolution of the board adopting the new system, such a system is the only lawful tract index system in the register of deeds' office.
History: 1995 a. 201
; 1995 a. 225
; 1995 a. 227
; 1997 a. 27
, 9456 (3m)
; 1997 a. 35
; 1999 a. 96
; 2001 a. 10
; 2001 a. 16
; 2003 a. 33
; 2003 a. 48
; 2003 a. 206
; 2005 a. 25
; 2005 a. 41
; 2009 a. 98
; 2013 a. 20
; 2015 a. 48
See s. 779.97
for fees for filing federal liens and releases of liens.
See s. 182.01 (3)
for the requirement that certain corporate documents must bear the name of the drafter of the instrument before it may be filed by the department of financial services.
The express powers to appoint and discharge deputies under this section are separate from those of the county and are not subject to a collective bargaining agreement entered into by the county. Crawford County v. WERC, 177 Wis. 2d 66
, 501 N.W.2d 836
(Ct. App. 1993).
Crawford County v. WERC
is restricted to its facts. Deputized employees, apart from a chief deputy, are exempt from the terms of collective bargaining agreements only to the extent that they are managerial or supervisory employees. Eau Claire County v. AFSCME Local 2223, 190 Wis. 2d 298
, 526 N.W.2d 802
(Ct. App. 1994).
Except for their elected superior's power to appoint and discharge, chief deputies are subject to the Municipal Employment Relations Act, ss. 111.70 to 111.77, and are not excluded from a collective bargaining unit as a matter of law. Oneida County v. WERC, 2000 WI App 191
, 238 Wis. 2d 763
, 618 N.W.2d 891
A register of deeds does not have authority to correct an original recording of a deed made by a predecessor. 61 Atty. Gen. 189.
Section 59.513 [now s. 59.43 (5)] does not apply unless the instrument affects real estate in the manner described in the statute. 63 Atty. Gen. 594.
In a county maintaining a tract index system, the register of deeds must enter into the index any deed, mortgage, or other recorded instrument that affects title to or mentions an indexed tract or any part thereof. 63 Atty. Gen. 254.
Registers of deeds have no obligation to file or record “common-law liens" or “common-law writs of attachment." 69 Atty. Gen. 58.
Registers of deeds entering into contracts under sub. (2) (c) may insist on provisions protecting the identity and integrity of records obtained under the contracts and protecting the public. Authority to require provisions directly prohibiting the contracting party from selling or disseminating copies of the records is not prohibited and may reasonably be implied from the general contracting authority under sub. (2) (c). OAG 1-03
The fee requirements of sub. (2) (b), not those of s. 19.35 (3), apply to electronic copies of records obtained pursuant sub. (4), unless the requester has entered into a contract authorized by sub. (2) (c). OAG 1-03
Under s. 706.05 (1), only instruments that affect an interest in land are entitled to be recorded. A land patent is the instrument by which the government conveys title to portions of the public domain to private individuals. “Land patents," “updates of land patent" and other, similarly-titled documents filed by private individuals that purport to be grants of private land from private individuals to themselves or other private individuals are not true land patents and are invalid on their face and not entitled to recording under s. 706.05 (1). OAG 4-12
County abstractor; appointment; duties; fees. 59.44(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided under par. (b)
, whenever any county adopts a tract index system or any recognized chain of title system, the board may create a department to be known as an abstract department, either in connection with or independent of the office of the register of deeds, as the board considers advisable. The board may appoint a competent person for a term of 2 years, who shall be known as the county abstractor, and shall have charge of and operate the abstract department. The board shall furnish a seal for the abstractor, who shall place the seal on every abstract issued by the abstractor.
In any county with a county executive or a county administrator, if the county creates an abstract department under par. (a)
, the county executive or county administrator shall appoint and supervise the county abstractor. Such appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the board unless the board, by ordinance, elects to waive confirmation or unless the appointment is made under a civil service system competitive examination procedure established under s. 59.52 (8)
or ch. 63
The register of deeds shall be eligible to hold the office of county abstractor and may hold both offices at the same time.
The county abstractor shall make and deliver to any person an abstract of title to any land in the county, upon the payment of the required fee.
The board shall fix the salary of said abstractor, provide such clerical assistance as may be necessary and fix their compensation and shall fix the fees to be received for the compiling and furnishing of abstracts and may at any time prescribe regulations for the operation and conduct of said department. All fees received for the compiling and furnishing of abstracts shall be paid into the county treasury.
The board may by two-thirds vote of all the members of the board discontinue furnishing abstracts.
History: 1985 a. 29
; 1991 a. 316
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.44; 1995 a. 225
; 1997 a. 35
County surveyor; duties, deputies, fees. 59.45(1)(a)(a)
The county surveyor shall do all of the following:
Execute, personally or by a deputy, all surveys that are required by the county or by a court. Surveys for individuals or corporations may be executed at the county surveyor's discretion.
Make, personally or by a deputy, a record, in books or on drawings and plats that are kept for that purpose, of all corners that are set and the manner of fixing the corners, of each survey made personally, by deputies or by other professional land surveyors and arrange or index the record so it is an easy-to-use reference and file and preserve in the office the original field notes and calculation thereof. Within 60 days after completing any survey, the county surveyor shall make a true and correct copy of the foregoing record, in record books or on reproducible papers to be furnished by the county and kept in files in the office of the county surveyor to be provided by the county. In a county with a population of 500,000 or more where there is no county surveyor, a copy of the record shall also be filed in the office of the regional planning commission which acts in the capacity of county surveyor for the county.
Furnish a copy of any record, plat or paper in the office to any person on demand and upon payment to the county of the required fees.
Administer to every survey assistant engaged in any survey, before commencing their duties, an oath or affirmation to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of survey assistant, and the deputies are empowered to administer the same.
Perform all other duties that are required by law.
Surveys for individuals or corporations may be performed by any professional land surveyor who is employed by the parties requiring the services, providing that within 60 days after completing any survey the professional land surveyor files a true and correct copy of the survey in the office of the county surveyor. In counties with a population of 500,000 or more the copy shall be filed in the office of the register of deeds and in the office of the regional planning commission which acts in the capacity of county surveyor for the county.
(2) Surveyor; deputies.
The county surveyor may appoint and remove deputies at will on filing a certificate thereof with the clerk.
(3) Surveyor; fees.
In addition to the regular fees of professional land surveyors that are received from the parties employing the county surveyor, the county surveyor may receive a salary from the county.
Compensation and duties of an elected county surveyor and possible conflicts of interest in public contracts are discussed. 60 Atty. Gen. 134.
Duties of county and other land surveyors and minimum standards for property surveys are discussed. 69 Atty. Gen. 160.
Penalty for nonfeasance.
Any county surveyor, any city, village, or town engineer, or any professional land surveyor who fails or refuses to perform any duty required of that person by law shall forfeit not less than $25 nor more than $50 for each such failure or refusal.
History: 1991 a. 316
; 1993 a. 246
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.46; 2013 a. 358
County auditors; powers; duties. 59.47(1)
In every county, except as provided in s. 59.255 (2) (i)
, the clerk shall act as auditor, unless a separate office of county auditor is created as provided in sub. (2)
, and, when directed by resolution of the board, shall examine the books and accounts of any county officer, board, commission, committee, trustees or other officer or employee entrusted with the receipt, custody or expenditure of money, or by or on whose certificate any funds appropriated by the board are authorized to be expended, whether compensated for services by fees or by salary, and all original bills and vouchers on which moneys have been paid out and all receipts of moneys received by them. The clerk shall have free access to such books, accounts, bills, vouchers and receipts as often as may be necessary to perform the duties required under this subsection and he or she shall report in writing the results of the examinations to the board.
The board by resolution may create a separate office of county auditor and may fix the compensation of the auditor. The auditor shall perform the duties and have all of the powers conferred upon the clerk as auditor by sub. (1)
, and shall perform such additional duties and shall have such additional powers as are imposed and conferred upon him or her from time to time by resolution adopted by the board.
If a county auditor's office is created under sub. (2)
, the chairperson of the board shall appoint a person known to be skilled in matters of public finance and accounting to act as county auditor. The appointment shall be made under ss. 63.01
and shall be subject to confirmation by the board. The auditor shall direct the keeping of all of the accounts of the county, in all of its offices, departments and institutions, and shall keep books of account necessary to properly perform the duties of the office. The auditor's salary and the amount of the official bond shall be fixed by the board. The auditor shall perform all duties pertaining to the office, have all of the powers and perform the duties in sub. (1)
and perform other duties imposed by the board.
The board by resolution may authorize a county auditor appointed under sub. (3)
to appoint a deputy auditor under ss. 63.01
to aid him or her in the discharge of the duties of his or her office, and who, in the absence or disability of the county auditor, or in case of a vacancy in said office, shall perform all the duties of the office of county auditor until such vacancy is filled, or disability is removed. Such deputy shall execute and file an official bond in the same amount as that given by the county auditor.
History: 1977 c. 265
; 1983 a. 192
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.47; 2011 a. 62
This section's effect on county bookkeeping and auditing is discussed. 67 Atty. Gen. 248.
The statutory duties of the county clerk under ch. 70 may not be transferred to the county auditor, but the county auditor may be granted supervisory authority over the manner in which such duties are exercised. OAG 6-08
The removal of the county auditor is subject to the specific civil service provisions established by ordinance or resolution of the county board under ss. 63.01 to 63.17 and is not governed by the more general removal provision contained in s. 17.10 (3). Rather than creating the separate office of county auditor pursuant under s. 59.47 (2), a county board could create a department of administration under s. 59.52 (1) (b) and assign administrative audit functions to that department under that statute. If the administrative function is under the jurisdiction of the county auditor the function may be assigned to the department of administration. A person in the department of administration who performs audit functions therefore need not be appointed using civil service procedures. OAG 6-08
The county executive elected under s. 59.17
or the county administrator elected or appointed under s. 59.18
shall appoint a county assessor as prescribed in and subject to the limitations of s. 70.99
, approve the hiring of the assessor's staff as prescribed in that section and otherwise comply with that section. In counties with neither a county executive nor a county administrator the appointment of the county assessor shall be the duty of the chairperson of the board subject to the approval of the board and subject to the limitations of s. 70.99
. The hiring of the assessor's staff shall be the duty of the county assessor subject to the limitations of s. 70.99
History: 1995 a. 201
POWERS AND DUTIES OF COUNTIES