The clerk may in writing filed in the clerk's office appoint a deputy, who shall act under the clerk's direction, and in the clerk's absence or disability or in case of a vacancy shall perform the clerk's duties, and shall have power to administer oaths and affirmations. The deputy shall receive such compensation as the council shall provide. The clerk and the clerk's sureties shall be liable on the clerk's official bond for the acts of such deputy.
The clerk shall notify the treasurer of the county in which the city is located, by February 20, of the proportion of property tax revenue and of the credits under s. 79.10
that is to be disbursed by the taxation district treasurer to each taxing jurisdiction located in the city.
The clerk shall stamp or endorse traveling sales crew worker permits at the request of an employer under s. 103.34 (11) (c)
The attorney shall conduct all the law business in which the city is interested.
The attorney shall when requested by city officers give written legal opinions, which shall be filed with the clerk.
The attorney shall draft ordinances, bonds and other instruments as may be required by city officers.
The attorney shall examine the tax and assessment rolls and other tax proceedings, and advise the proper city officers in regard thereto.
The attorney may appoint an assistant, who shall have power to perform the attorney's duties and for whose acts the attorney shall be responsible to the city. Such assistant shall receive no compensation from the city, unless previously provided by ordinance.
The council may employ and compensate special counsel to assist in or take charge of any matter in which the city is interested.
The chief of police shall have command of the police force of the city, or the chief of a combined protective services department created under s. 62.13 (2e) (a) 1.
shall have command of the combined protective services force, under the direction of the mayor. The chief shall obey all lawful written orders of the mayor or common council. The chief and each police officer or combined protective services officer shall possess the powers, enjoy the privileges and be subject to the liabilities conferred and imposed by law upon constables, and be taken as included in all writs and papers addressed to constables; shall arrest with or without process and with reasonable diligence take before the municipal judge or other proper court every person found in the city engaged in any disturbance of the peace or violating any law of the state or ordinance of the city and may command all persons present in that case to assist, and if any person, being so commanded, refuses or neglects to render assistance the person shall forfeit not exceeding $10. They shall collect the same fees prescribed for sheriffs in s. 814.70
for similar services, unless a higher fee is applicable under s. 814.705 (1) (b)
The chief of police, or the chief of a combined protective services department created under s. 62.13 (2e) (a) 1.
, shall have charge of all city jails, including that portion of any jail which is used by the city in a joint city-county building.
Every officer in charge of a jail shall keep a record concerning each person placed in the jail, including the person's name, residence and description, the time and cause of the person's confinement, and the authority under which the person was confined; and when any person is released, the time of and the authority for such release.
The personnel required to comply with ss. 302.41
shall be provided at the expense of the municipality.
A constable who is given law enforcement duties by the common council, and who meets the definition of a law enforcement officer under s. 165.85 (2) (c)
, shall comply with the minimum employment standards for law enforcement officers established by the law enforcement standards board and shall complete training under s. 165.85 (4) (a) 1.
A constable shall keep his or her office in the city. No constable who keeps his or her office outside the limits of the city may receive fees for any service performed during the period the outside office is maintained.
History: 1971 c. 154
; 1971 c. 304
s. 29 (1)
; 1973 c. 90
; 1975 c. 21
; 1975 c. 375
; 1975 c. 421
; 1977 c. 29
; 1977 c. 305
; 1979 c. 34
; 1981 c. 20
; 1983 a. 189
s. 329 (21)
; 1983 a. 210
; 1983 a. 532
; 1985 a. 29
; 1985 a. 135
s. 83 (5)
; 1985 a. 225
; 1987 a. 27
; 1989 a. 31
; 1991 a. 39
; 1993 a. 27
; 1995 a. 225
; 1997 a. 27
; 1999 a. 32
; 1999 a. 150
; 2001 a. 16
; 2003 a. 47
; 2005 a. 40
; 2009 a. 3
; 2011 a. 32
; 2013 a. 214
; 2017 a. 51
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 47
, which affects this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
See s. 196.675
, which provides that a city attorney may not be employed by common carrier or public utility.
See s. 66.0609
for an alternative system of approving claims under sub. (10).
A mayor may not veto council action or inaction on public works contracts. Sturzl Construction Co., Inc. v. City of Green Bay, 88 Wis. 2d 403
, 276 N.W.2d 771
Conflicts arising from the election of a school principal to the office of alderperson are discussed. 60 Atty. Gen. 367.
Alderperson and police officer spouses can continue to hold offices as long as the alderperson does not violate s. 946.13 (1) with respect to the police officer's contract. 63 Atty. Gen. 43.
A mayor in a city with a police and fire commission does not have the authority to order a police chief to reinstate a discharged probationary police officer. 81 Atty. Gen. 1
When no provision fixes the term of appointive officers, such as a city treasurer, the term is limited to that of the appointing authority; removal by a successor does not implicate a due process property interest. Wolf v. City of Fitchburg, 870 F.2d 1327
Police accountability in Wisconsin. 1974 WLR 1131.
Common council. 62.11(1)(1)
The mayor and alderpersons shall be the common council. The mayor shall not be counted in determining whether a quorum is present at a meeting, but may vote in case of a tie. When the mayor does vote in case of a tie the mayor's vote shall be counted in determining whether a sufficient number of the council has voted favorably or unfavorably on any measure.
(2) Time of meeting.
The council shall meet at least once a month, and on the first Tuesday unless a different day be fixed by the council. More frequent regular meetings may be established by the council. The mayor may call a special meeting by notifying members in a manner likely to give each member notice of the meeting and providing the notice at least 6 hours before the meeting. Following a regular city election the new council shall first meet on the 3rd Tuesday of April.
The council shall be the judge of the election and qualification of its members, may compel their attendance, and may fine or expel for neglect of duty.
Two-thirds of the members shall be a quorum, except that in cities having not more than 5 alderpersons a majority shall be a quorum. A less number may compel the attendance of absent members and adjourn. A majority of all the members shall be necessary to a confirmation. In case of a tie the mayor shall have a casting vote as in other cases.
Meetings shall be open to the public; and the council may punish by fine members or other persons present for disorderly behavior.
The ayes and noes may be required by any member. On confirmation and on the adoption of any measure assessing or levying taxes, appropriating or disbursing money, or creating any liability or charge against the city or any fund thereof, the vote shall be by ayes and noes. All aye and nay votes shall be recorded in the journal.
The council shall in all other respects determine the rules of its procedure.
The style of all ordinances shall be: “The common council of the city of .... do ordain as follows".
Proceedings of the council shall be published in the newspaper designated under s. 985.06
as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
. The proceedings for the purpose of publication shall include the substance of every official action taken by the governing body. Except as provided in this subsection every ordinance shall be published either in its entirety, as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, or as a notice, as described under par. (c) 2.
, within 15 days of passage, and shall take effect on the day after the publication or at a later date if expressly prescribed.
All ordinances passed by the governing body of any city of the second class between January 1, 1914, and January 1, 1924, which were or may have been required to be published before becoming effective, but which were not published, shall be valid to the same extent as if they had been published in the first instance, as required by law, providing said ordinances and all amendments thereto are printed in the official journal of any such body together with the record of the passage of the same; however, the provisions of this paragraph shall not be effective in any city unless the governing body thereof shall so elect by a vote of two-thirds of its members.
A notice of an ordinance that may be published under this paragraph shall be published as a class 1 notice under ch. 985
and shall contain at least all of the following:
A summary of the subject matter and main points of the ordinance.
Information as to where the full text of the ordinance may be obtained, including the phone number of the city clerk, a street address where the full text of the ordinance may be viewed, and a website, if any, at which the ordinance may be accessed.
Except as elsewhere in the statutes specifically provided, the council shall have the management and control of the city property, finances, highways, navigable waters, and the public service, and shall have power to act for the government and good order of the city, for its commercial benefit, and for the health, safety, and welfare of the public, and may carry out its powers by license, regulation, suppression, borrowing of money, tax levy, appropriation, fine, imprisonment, confiscation, and other necessary or convenient means. The powers hereby conferred shall be in addition to all other grants, and shall be limited only by express language.
See s. 118.105
for control of traffic on school premises.
When a municipality's power to contract is improperly or irregularly exercised and the municipality receives benefit under the contract, it is estopped from asserting the invalidity of the contract. Village of McFarland v. Town of Dunn, 82 Wis. 2d 469
, 263 N.W.2d 167
Madison's power to forbid chemical treatment of Madison lakes was withdrawn by s. 144.025 (2) (i) [now s. 281.17 (2)]. Wisconsin Environmental Decade, Inc. v. DNR, 85 Wis. 2d 518
, 271 N.W.2d 69
When a city council creates a governing board for a utility under s. 66.068 (1) [now s. 66.0805 (1)], the council is prohibited by s. 66.068 (3) [now s. 66.0805 (3)] from fixing wages for utility employees. Schroeder v. City of Clintonville, 90 Wis. 2d 457
, 280 N.W.2d 166
Sub. (5) authorizes an ordinance regulating massage parlors. City of Madison v. Schultz, 98 Wis. 2d 188
, 295 N.W.2d 798
(Ct. App. 1980).
There is a 4-part test in evaluating whether a municipality may regulate a matter of state-wide concern: 1) whether the legislature has expressly withdrawn the power of municipalities to act; 2) whether the ordinance logically conflicts with the state legislation; 3) whether the ordinance defeats the purpose of the state legislation; or 4) whether the ordinance goes against the spirit of the state legislation. Anchor Savings and Loan Association v. Madison EOC, 120 Wis. 2d 391
, 355 N.W.2d 234
The common council and mayor properly limited the power of the police and fire commission to promote police officers. State ex rel. Wilson v. Schocker, 142 Wis. 2d 179
, 418 N.W.2d 8
(Ct. App. 1987).
Liberally construing home rule authority, a city is not authorized to institute a public safety officer program. Local Union No. 487 v. Eau Claire, 147 Wis. 2d 519
, 433 N.W.2d 578
The power granted under sub. (5) is broader than that granted under Art. XI, s. 3. Sub. (5) does not limit a city's authority to act only in local affairs. A city may act in matters of state-wide concern if the conditions of the 4-part test stated in this case are met. DeRosso Landfill Co. v. City of Oak Creek, 191 Wis. 2d 46
, 528 N.W.2d 468
(Ct. App. 1995).
The state regulatory scheme for tobacco sales preempts municipalities from adopting regulations that are not in strict conformity with those of the state. U.S. Oil, Inc. v. City of Fond du Lac, 199 Wis. 2d 333
, 544 N.W.2d 589
(Ct. App. 1995), 95-0213
One who deals with a municipality does so at his or her own risk and may be subject to any provisions of law that might prevent him or her from being paid by a municipality even though the services are rendered. Unless the power to bind the municipality financially has been specifically delegated, the only entity with the statutory authority to contract is the municipality. Holzbauer v. Safway Steel Products, Inc. 2005 WI App 240
, 288 Wis. 2d 250
, 712 N.W.2d 35
When a challenge to the exercise of police powers is directed at the legislative means employed, the issue is properly framed as one of substantive due process. The legislative means chosen must have a rational relationship to the purpose or object of the enactment; if it has, and the object is a proper one, the exercise of the police power is valid. The fundamental inquiry is not whether the challenged provisions in an ordinance are rationally related to the stated purpose of the ordinance but whether the challenged provisions are rationally related to any legitimate municipal objective. Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2011 WI App 45
, 332 Wis. 2d 459
, 798 N.W.2d 287
An ordinance is not invalid as unreasonable merely because substantially the same result might be accomplished by the enactment of a different type of ordinance, or because a less burdensome course might have been adopted to accomplish the end. The correct standard is whether the legislative means chosen has a rational relationship to the permissible object. Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2011 WI App 45
, 332 Wis. 2d 459
, 798 N.W.2d 287
The fact that the regulation of sex offenders is a matter of statewide concern does not preclude municipalities from using their home-rule powers to impose further restrictions consistent with those imposed by the state. An ordinance regulating an area of statewide concern is preempted only if: (1) the legislature has expressly withdrawn the power of municipalities to act, (2) the ordinance logically conflicts with state legislation, (3) the ordinance defeats the purpose of state legislation, or (4) the ordinance violates the spirit of state legislation. City of South Milwaukee v. Kester, 2013 WI App 50
, 347 Wis. 2d 334
, 830 N.W.2d 710
A city probably can contract with a county to provide fire protection to a county institution located outside of boundaries of the city. 62 Atty. Gen. 84.
A municipality has no jurisdiction over chemical treatment of waters to suppress aquatic nuisances. The department of natural resources is granted statewide supervision over aquatic nuisance control under s. 144.025 (2) (i) [now s. 281.17 (2)]. Applications for permits to chemically treat aquatic nuisances under s. 144.025 (2) (i) may be denied even though statutory and regulatory requirements have been met if the chemical treatment would be counter-productive in achieving the goals set out in s. 144.025 (1) [now s. 281.11]. 63 Atty. Gen. 260.
Local units of government may not create and accumulate unappropriated surplus funds. However, a local unit of government may maintain reasonable amounts necessary in the exercise of sound business principles to meet the immediate cash flow needs of the municipality during the current budgetary period or to accumulate needed capital in non-lapsing funds to finance specifically identified future capital expenditures. 76 Atty. Gen. 77
Article VIII, section 5 restricts the state from levying taxes to create a surplus having no public purpose. Although the constitutional provision does not apply directly to municipalities, the same limitation applies indirectly to them because the state cannot delegate more power than it has. 76 Atty. Gen. 77
Conflicts between state statute and local ordinance in Wisconsin. 1975 WLR 840.
Madison's Minimum-Wage Ordinance, Section 104.001, and the Future of Home Rule in Wisconsin. Burchill. 2007 WLR 151.
Defense of officers by city attorney. 62.115(1)(1)
The common council of any city, however incorporated, may by ordinance or resolution authorize the city attorney to defend actions brought against any officer or employee of such city or of any board or commission thereof, growing out of any acts done in the course of employment, or out of any alleged breach of duty as such officer or employee, excepting actions brought to determine the right of such officer or employee to hold or retain that person's office or position, and excepting also actions brought by such city against any officer or employee thereof.
Nothing in this section contained, nor any action taken by any city or by any city attorney pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall be construed to impose any liability, either for costs, damages or otherwise, upon such city or city attorney.
History: 1991 a. 316
The calendar year shall be the fiscal year.
Annually on or before October 1, each officer or department shall file with the city clerk an itemized statement of disbursements made to carry out the powers and duties of the officer or department during the preceding fiscal year, a detailed statement of the receipts and disbursements on account of any special fund under the supervision of the officer or department during the year and of the condition and management of the fund and detailed estimates of the same matters for the current fiscal year and for the ensuing fiscal year.
The city treasurer shall keep separate all special funds, and the city clerk shall keep a separate account with the general fund for each officer or department through which disbursements are made from the general fund to carry out the powers and duties of such officer or department. The council shall examine and adjust the accounts of the clerk, treasurer and all other officers or agents of the city after the same shall have been audited by the comptroller.
(5) License moneys.
Moneys received for licenses may be used for such purpose as the council shall direct in the absence of specific appropriation by law.
(6) Funds; appropriations; debts. 62.12(6)(a)
Unless otherwise provided by law city funds shall be paid out only by authority of the council. Such payment shall be made in the manner provided by s. 66.0607
The council shall not appropriate nor the treasurer pay out:
Funds appropriated by law to a special purpose except for that purpose;
Funds for any purpose not authorized by the statutes; nor
Funds from any fund in excess of the moneys therein.
No debt shall be contracted against the city nor evidence thereof given unless authorized by a majority vote of all the members of the council.
(7) City depositories.
The council shall designate the public depository or depositories within this state with which city funds shall be deposited, and when the money is deposited in such depository in the name of the city, the treasurer and bondsmen shall not be liable for such losses as are defined by s. 34.01 (2)
. The interest arising therefrom shall be paid into the city treasury.