“Service" includes snow and ice removal, weed elimination, street sprinkling, oiling and tarring, repair of sidewalks or curb and gutter, garbage and refuse disposal, recycling, storm water management, including construction of storm water management facilities, tree care, removal and disposition of dead animals under s. 60.23 (20)
, loan repayment under s. 70.57 (4) (b)
, soil conservation work under s. 92.115
, and snow removal under s. 86.105
“Water efficiency improvement" means an improvement to a residential, commercial, or industrial premises that reduces the usage of water, or increases the efficiency of water usage, at the premises.
Except as provided in sub. (5)
, the governing body of a city, village or town may impose a special charge against real property for current services rendered by allocating all or part of the cost of the service to the property served. The authority under this section is in addition to any other method provided by law.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, the governing body of the city, village or town may determine the manner of providing notice of a special charge.
Before a special charge for street tarring or the repair of sidewalks, curbs or gutters may be imposed, a public hearing shall be held by the governing body on whether the service in question will be funded in whole or in part by a special charge. Any interested person may testify at the hearing. Notice of the hearing shall be by class 1 notice under ch. 985
, published at least 20 days before the hearing. A copy of the notice shall be mailed at least 10 days before the hearing to each interested person whose address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence. The notice under this paragraph shall state the date, time and location of the hearing, the subject matter of the hearing and that any interested person may testify.
A special charge is not payable in installments. If a special charge is not paid within the time determined by the governing body, the special charge is delinquent. A delinquent special charge becomes a lien on the property against which it is imposed as of the date of delinquency. The delinquent special charge shall be included in the current or next tax roll for collection and settlement under ch. 74
Except with respect to storm water management, including construction of storm water management facilities, no special charge may be imposed under this section to collect arrearages owed a municipal public utility.
If a special charge imposed under this section is held invalid because this section is found unconstitutional, the governing body may reassess the special charge under any applicable law.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, no political subdivision may enact an ordinance, or enforce an existing ordinance, that imposes a fee on the owner or occupant of property for a call for assistance that is made by the owner or occupant requesting law enforcement services that relate to any of the following:
A political subdivision may make a loan, or enter into an agreement regarding loan repayments to a 3rd party for owner-arranged or lessee-arranged financing, to an owner or lessee of a premises located in the political subdivision for a brownfield revitalization project or for making or installing an energy efficiency improvement, a water efficiency improvement, or a renewable resource application to the premises. If a political subdivision makes a loan or enters into an agreement under this paragraph, the political subdivision may collect the loan repayment as a special charge under this section. Notwithstanding sub. (4)
, a special charge imposed under this paragraph may be collected in installments and may be included in the current or next tax roll for collection and settlement under ch. 74
even if the special charge is not delinquent. If a political subdivision makes a loan, or enters into an agreement regarding loan repayments to a 3rd party, for a brownfield revitalization project under this paragraph, the repayment period may exceed 20 years.
A political subdivision that imposes a special charge under par. (a)
may permit special charge installments to be collected by a 3rd party that has provided financing for the improvement or application and may require that the 3rd party inform the political subdivision if a special charge installment is delinquent.
An installment payment authorized under par. (a)
that is delinquent becomes a lien on the property that benefits from the improvement or application as of the date of delinquency. A lien under this paragraph has the same priority as a special assessment lien.
A political subdivision that, under par. (a)
, makes a loan to, or enters an agreement with, an owner for making or installing an improvement or application that costs $250,000 or more shall require the owner to obtain a written guarantee from the contractor or project engineer that the improvement or application will achieve a savings-to-investment ratio of greater than 1.0 and that the contractor or engineer will annually pay the owner any shortfall in savings below this level. The political subdivision may determine the method by which a guarantee under this paragraph is enforced. This paragraph does not apply to a loan or agreement for a brownfield revitalization project.
If the making or installing of an improvement or application under par. (a)
costs less than $250,000, the political subdivision may require a 3rd-party technical review of the projected savings of the improvement or application as a condition of making a loan or entering into an agreement under par. (a)
History: 1999 a. 150
; 2007 a. 4
; 2009 a. 11
; 2011 a. 138
; 2017 a. 70
; 35.17 correction in (8) (d).
A special assessment against a church was not barred by s. 70.11 (4). Grace Episcopal v. Madison, 129 Wis. 2d 331
, 385 N.W.2d 200
(Ct. App. 1986).
A city may impose special charges for delinquent electric bills due a municipal utility. Laskaris v. City of Wisconsin Dells, 131 Wis. 2d 525
, 389 N.W.2d 67
(Ct. App. 1986).
The cost of service to a property under this section does not include the cost of legal services incurred by the municipality in defending against challenges to the removal of materials from a ditch under s. 88.90. Robinson v. Town of Bristol, 2003 WI App 97
, 264 Wis. 2d 318
, 667 N.W.2d 14
The examples given in sub. (1) are not meant to limit its application in any way, but merely to highlight possible uses. The special charge need only provide a service, not a benefit, to the property owner. Under s. 74.01 (4) a special charge is a charge against real property to compensate for all or part of the costs to a public body of providing services to the property. Rusk v. City of Milwaukee, 2007 WI App 7
, 298 Wis. 2d 407
, 727 N.W.2d 358
State property is not subject to assessment of special charges under former s. 66.60 (16) [now s. 66.0627]. 69 Atty. Gen. 269.
Fees imposed by a political subdivision. 66.0628(1)(a)
“Political subdivision" means a city, village, town, or county.
“Reasonable relationship" means that the cost charged by a political subdivision for a service provided to a person may not exceed the political subdivision's reasonable direct costs that are associated with any activity undertaken by the political subdivision that is related to the fee.
Any fee that is imposed by a political subdivision shall bear a reasonable relationship to the service for which the fee is imposed.
If a political subdivision enters into a contract to purchase engineering, legal, or other professional services from another person and the political subdivision passes along the cost for such professional services to another person under a separate contract between the political subdivision and that person, the rate charged that other person for the professional services may not exceed the rate customarily paid for similar services by the political subdivision.
Any person aggrieved by a fee imposed by a political subdivision because the person does not believe that the fee bears a reasonable relationship to the service for which the fee is imposed may appeal the reasonableness of the fee to the tax appeals commission by filing a petition with the commission within 60 days after the fee's imposition, as provided under s. 73.01 (5)
with respect to income or franchise tax cases, and the commission's decision may be reviewed under s. 73.015
. For appeals brought under this subsection, the filing fee required under s. 73.01 (5) (a)
does not apply.
With regard to an appeal filed with the tax appeals commission under par. (a)
, the political subdivision shall bear the burden of proof to establish that a reasonable relationship exists between the fee imposed and the services for which the fee is imposed.
Special assessments by local ordinance. 66.0701(1)(1)
Except as provided in s. 66.0721
, in addition to other methods provided by law, the governing body of a town, village or 2nd, 3rd or 4th class city may, by ordinance, provide that the cost of installing or constructing any public work or improvement shall be charged in whole or in part to the property benefited, and make an assessment against the property benefited in the manner that the governing body determines. The special assessment is a lien against the property from the date of the levy.
Every ordinance under this section shall contain provisions for reasonable notice and hearing. Any person against whose land a special assessment is levied under the ordinance may appeal in the manner prescribed in s. 66.0703 (12)
within 40 days of the date of the final determination of the governing body.
History: 1983 a. 532
; 1989 a. 322
; 1999 a. 150
; Stats. 1999 s. 66.0701.
An ordinance under this section may use police power as the basis for a special assessment. Mowers v. City of St. Francis, 108 Wis. 2d 630
, 323 N.W.2d 157
(Ct. App. 1982).
Special assessments, generally. 66.0703(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided in s. 66.0721
, as a complete alternative to all other methods provided by law, any city, town or village may, by resolution of its governing body, levy and collect special assessments upon property in a limited and determinable area for special benefits conferred upon the property by any municipal work or improvement; and may provide for the payment of all or any part of the cost of the work or improvement out of the proceeds of the special assessments.
The amount assessed against any property for any work or improvement which does not represent an exercise of the police power may not exceed the value of the benefits accruing to the property. If an assessment represents an exercise of the police power, the assessment shall be upon a reasonable basis as determined by the governing body of the city, town or village.
If any property that is benefited is by law exempt from assessment, the assessment shall be computed and shall be paid by the city, town or village.
The cost of any work or improvement to be paid in whole or in part by special assessment on property may include the direct and indirect cost, the resulting damages, the interest on bonds or notes issued in anticipation of the collection of the assessments, a reasonable charge for the services of the administrative staff of the city, town or village and the cost of any architectural, engineering and legal services, and any other item of direct or indirect cost that may reasonably be attributed to the proposed work or improvement. The amount to be assessed against all property for the proposed work or improvement shall be apportioned among the individual parcels in the manner designated by the governing body.
A parcel of land against which a special assessment has been levied for the sanitary sewer or water main laid in one of the streets that the parcel abuts is entitled to a deduction or exemption that the governing body determines to be reasonable and just under the circumstances of each case, when a special assessment is levied for the sanitary sewer or water main laid in the other street that the corner lot abuts. The governing body may allow a similar deduction or exemption from special assessments levied for any other public improvement.
Before the exercise of any powers conferred by this section, the governing body shall declare by preliminary resolution its intention to exercise the powers for a stated municipal purpose. The resolution shall describe generally the contemplated purpose, the limits of the proposed assessment district, the number of installments in which the special assessments may be paid, or that the number of installments will be determined at the hearing required under sub. (7)
, and direct the proper municipal officer or employee to make a report on the proposal. The resolution may limit the proportion of the cost to be assessed.
An estimate of the entire cost of the proposed work or improvement.
Except as provided in par. (d)
, an estimate, as to each parcel of property affected, of:
The damages to be awarded for property taken or damaged.
The net amount of the benefits over damages or the net amount of the damages over benefits.
A statement that the property against which the assessments are proposed is benefited, if the work or improvement constitutes an exercise of the police power. If this paragraph applies, the estimates required under par. (c)
shall be replaced by a schedule of the proposed assessments.
A copy of the report when completed shall be filed with the municipal clerk for public inspection. If property of the state may be subject to assessment under s. 66.0705
, the municipal clerk shall file a copy of the report with the state agency which manages the property. If the assessment to the property of the state for a project, as defined under s. 66.0705 (2)
, is $50,000 or more, the state agency shall submit a request for approval of the assessment, with its recommendation, to the building commission. The building commission shall review the assessment and shall determine within 90 days of the date on which the commission receives the report if the assessment is just and legal and if the proposed improvement is compatible with state plans for the facility which is the subject of the proposed improvement. If the building commission so determines, it shall approve the assessment. No project in which the property of the state is assessed at $50,000 or more may be commenced and no contract on the project may be let without approval of the assessment by the building commission under this subsection. The building commission shall submit a copy of its determination under this subsection to the state agency that manages the property which is the subject of the determination.
Upon the completion and filing of the report required by sub. (4)
, the city, town or village clerk shall prepare a notice stating the nature of the proposed work or improvement, the general boundary lines of the proposed assessment district including, in the discretion of the governing body, a small map, the place and time at which the report may be inspected, and the place and time at which all interested persons, or their agents or attorneys, may appear before the governing body, a committee of the governing body or the board of public works and be heard concerning the matters contained in the preliminary resolution and the report. The notice shall be published as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, in the city, town or village and a copy of the notice shall be mailed, at least 10 days before the hearing or proceeding, to every interested person whose post-office address is known, or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence. The hearing shall commence not less than 10 nor more than 40 days after publication.
The notice and hearing requirements under par. (a)
do not apply if they are waived, in writing, by all the owners of property affected by the special assessment.
After the hearing upon any proposed work or improvement, the governing body may approve, disapprove or modify, or it may rerefer the report prepared under subs. (4)
to the designated officer or employee with directions to change the plans and specifications and to accomplish a fair and equitable assessment.
If an assessment of benefits is made against any property and an award of compensation or damages is made in favor of the same property, the governing body shall assess against or award in favor of the property only the difference between the assessment of benefits and the award of damages or compensation.
When the governing body finally determines to proceed with the work or improvement, it shall approve the plans and specifications and adopt a resolution directing that the work or improvement be carried out and paid for in accordance with the report as finally approved.
The city, town or village clerk shall publish the final resolution as a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, in the assessment district and a copy of the resolution shall be mailed to every interested person whose post-office address is known, or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence.
When the final resolution is published, all work or improvements described in the resolution and all awards, compensations and assessments arising from the resolution are then authorized and made, subject to the right of appeal under sub. (12)
If more than a single type of project is undertaken as part of a general improvement affecting any property, the governing body may finally combine the assessments for all purposes as a single assessment on each property affected, if each property owner may object to the assessment for any single purpose or for more than one purpose.
If the actual cost of any project, upon completion or after the receipt of bids, is found to vary materially from the estimates, if any assessment is void or invalid, or if the governing body decides to reconsider and reopen any assessment, it may, after giving notice as provided in sub. (7) (a)
and after a public hearing, amend, cancel or confirm the prior assessment. A notice of the resolution amending, canceling or confirming the prior assessment shall be given by the clerk as provided in sub. (8) (d)
. If the assessments are amended to provide for the refunding of special assessment B bonds under s. 66.0713 (6)
, all direct and indirect costs reasonably attributable to the refunding of the bonds may be included in the cost of the public improvements being financed.
If the cost of the project is less than the special assessments levied, the governing body, without notice or hearing, shall reduce each special assessment proportionately and if any assessments or installments have been paid the excess over cost shall be applied to reduce succeeding unpaid installments, if the property owner has elected to pay in installments, or refunded to the property owner.
A person having an interest in a parcel of land affected by a determination of the governing body, under sub. (8) (c)
, may, within 90 days after the date of the notice or of the publication of the final resolution under sub. (8) (d)
, appeal the determination to the circuit court of the county in which the property is located. The person appealing shall serve a written notice of appeal upon the clerk of the city, town or village and execute a bond to the city, town or village in the sum of $150 with 2 sureties or a bonding company to be approved by the city, town or village clerk, conditioned for the faithful prosecution of the appeal and the payment of all costs that may be adjudged against that person. The clerk, if an appeal is taken, shall prepare a brief statement of the proceedings in the matter before the governing body, with its decision on the matter, and shall transmit the statement with the original or certified copies of all the papers in the matter to the clerk of the circuit court.
The appeal shall be tried and determined in the same manner as cases originally commenced in circuit court, and costs awarded as provided in s. 893.80
If a contract has been made for making the improvement the appeal does not affect the contract, and certificates or bonds may be issued in anticipation of the collection of the entire assessment for the improvement, including the assessment on any property represented in the appeal as if the appeal had not been taken.
Upon appeal under this subsection, the court may, based on the improvement as actually constructed, render a judgment affirming, annulling or modifying and affirming, as modified, the action or decision of the governing body. If the court finds that any assessment or any award of damages is excessive or insufficient, the assessment or award need not be annulled, but the court may reduce or increase the assessment or award of damages and affirm the assessment or award as so modified.
An appeal under this subsection is the sole remedy of any person aggrieved by a determination of the governing body, whether or not the improvement was made according to the plans and specifications, and shall raise any question of law or fact, stated in the notice of appeal, involving the making of the improvement, the assessment of benefits or the award of damages or the levy of any special assessment. The limitation in par. (a)
does not apply to appeals based on fraud or on latent defects in the construction of the improvement discovered after the period of limitation.
It is a condition to the maintenance of an appeal that any assessment appealed from shall be paid when the assessment or any installments become due. If there is a default in making a payment, the appeal shall be dismissed.
Every special assessment levied under this section is a lien on the property against which it is levied on behalf of the municipality levying the assessment or the owner of any certificate, bond or other document issued by public authority, evidencing ownership of or any interest in the special assessment, from the date of the determination of the assessment by the governing body. The governing body shall provide for the collection of the assessments and may establish penalties for payment after the due date. The governing body shall provide that all assessments or installments that are not paid by the date specified shall be extended upon the tax roll as a delinquent special assessment, as defined under s. 74.01 (3)
, against the property and all proceedings in relation to the collection, return and sale of property for delinquent real estate taxes apply to the special assessment, except as otherwise provided by statute.
If a special assessment levied under this section is held invalid because this section is found to be unconstitutional, the governing body may reassess the special assessment under any applicable law.
Under sub. (15) [now sub. (13)] the assessment lien is effective from the date of the determination of the assessment, not from the date of the publication of the resolution. Dittner v. Town of Spencer, 55 Wis. 2d 707
, 201 N.W.2d 450
A presumption arises that an assessment was made on the basis of benefits actually accrued. In levying a special assessment for benefits to residential property from a public improvement, the benefit to the property as commercial property may be considered only if the assessing authority can prove there is a reasonable probability of rezoning the property in the near future. Molbreak v. Village of Shorewood Hills, 66 Wis. 2d 687
, 225 N.W.2d 894
The plaintiff's failure to comply strictly with the express terms of sub. (12) (a) and (f) deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction. Bialk v. City of Oak Creek, 98 Wis. 2d 469
, 297 N.W.2d 43
(Ct. App. 1980).
“Special benefits" under sub. (1) (a) is defined as an uncommon advantage accruing to the property owner in addition to the benefit enjoyed by other property owners. Goodger v. City of Delavan, 134 Wis. 2d 348
, 396 N.W.2d 778
(Ct. App. 1986).
Confirmation under sub. (10) permits interest to be collected from the date of the original assessment. Gelhaus & Brost v. City of Medford, 143 Wis. 2d 193
, 420 N.W.2d 775
(Ct. App. 1988).
Sub. (12) (d) does not permit a trial court to correct an assessment that was annulled due to lack of evidence. Because sub. (12) (d) evinces an intent that the municipality will reassess, a trial court may modify an assessment only if there is an adequate record of evidence to make the determination. VTAE District 4 v. Town of Burke, 151 Wis. 2d 392
, 444 N.W.2d 733
(Ct. App. 1989).
Property specially assessed under the police power must be benefitted to some extent, and the method of assessment must be reasonable, not arbitrarily or capriciously burdening any group of property owners. CTI Group v. Village of Germantown, 163 Wis. 2d 426
, 471 N.W.2d 610
(Ct. App. 1991).
Imposition of interest on an assessment from the date of enactment of an ordinance is unreasonable. Village of Egg Harbor v. Sarkis, 166 Wis. 2d 5
, 479 N.W.2d 536
(Ct. App. 1991).