198.17(3)(b) (b) The defendant owner shall answer in the action commenced under par. (a) within 10 days after service of the summons and complaint on the owner and the action shall be at issue and stand ready for trial upon 10 days' notice by either party. Unless the parties waive a jury, the question as to the necessity of the taking of the utility by the district shall be as speedily as possible submitted to a jury. If the jury or the court, in case a jury is waived, finds that a necessity exists for the taking by the district of the utility, to which the owner shall not have consented, the directors shall cause speedy notice of the finding of necessity to be certified to the commission and the owner. The commission and the parties shall then proceed to the ascertainment of the just compensation to be paid by the district to the owner for the utility. The consummation of the transfer of the utility to the district and the payment of the compensation to the owner shall be in the manner provided in sub. (2).
198.17(4) (4)Municipal utility exemption. No utility owned by any municipality within the district shall be acquired by the district, except by mutual agreement pursuant to sub. (1m), until the district has first obtained, from the commission, after notice and hearing accorded to the municipality, a certificate that public necessity and convenience require that the utility be owned and operated by the district. If the certificate is granted the consummation of the acquisition shall be in the manner provided in sub. (2).
198.17(5) (5)Acquisition of part of utility.
198.17(5)(a)(a) If the directors of the district determine that the district should acquire any part of the physical property of any utility which is or may be owned and operated as an entirety, the directors shall, before adopting any resolution or ordinance declaring the determination of the district to acquire the property, apply to the commission for and obtain the commission's certificate of authority to do so. The application of the district for the certificate shall state with reasonable certainty the part of the utility proposed to be acquired and the part of the utility not proposed to be acquired. The application shall also state the facts with respect to the properties to be acquired and the considerations on which the board of directors rely to show that only the part of the utility sought by the district should be acquired by the district. A copy of the application shall be served upon the owner of the utility affected and upon any municipality, whether within or without the district, in which the utility operates or furnishes any service.
198.17(5)(b) (b) The commission shall fix a time and place for hearing the application made under par. (a) and shall give 10 days' notice of the hearing to all parties interested. The commission shall conduct a public hearing and investigation concerning the matters alleged in the application and shall make and file written findings and conclusions with respect to those matters. Before approving the application and granting the certificate of authority applied for, the commission shall ascertain and find:
198.17(5)(b)1. 1. That the acquisition by the district of the part of the utility, as proposed in the application, will be of greater financial, economic and industrial advantage to the district than the acquisition of the utility as an entirety as operated.
198.17(5)(b)2. 2. That the acquisition by the district of the part of the utility, as proposed in the application, will not result in any substantial injury to public interests or impairment of public service that would not result if the utility was acquired as an entirety and continued to be operated as an entirety.
198.17(5)(b)3. 3. That the acquisition by the district of the part of the utility, as proposed in the application, will not render the part of the utility that will not be acquired incapable of continuing to render any substantial public service being rendered by the utility adequately and at reasonable rates, tolls or charges for the service.
198.17(5m) (5m)Alternative mode of acquiring utility. Upon the initiation of steps for the formation of a district, or later, any municipality within a district or a proposed district may, in lieu of the other procedure provided by this section, determine, as provided by s. 197.02, to acquire any utility operating within the municipality under the terms of an indeterminate permit, as defined in s. 196.01, on behalf of and for the benefit of the district, subject to the conditions and by the procedure set forth and described in ch. 197. Any 2 or more municipalities within a district or proposed district may, in the same manner, determine to jointly acquire utilities operating within the municipalities, on behalf of and for the benefit of the district. The municipalities and districts may enter into contracts for the transfer and conveyance of the utilities to the districts immediately upon the acquisition of the utilities by the municipalities, and for the simultaneous payment of the purchase price for the utilities by the districts. The municipalities and districts may join in any conveyances, and do all such acts as are necessary to execute the contracts; subject to the provisions of this chapter governing the powers of districts to enter into transactions, and incur indebtedness, generally.
198.17(6) (6)Technicalities. No error or omission of a technical nature not affecting a substantial right shall be held to invalidate or impair any proceeding under this section or affect the legal result thereof.
198.17(7) (7)Commission's expenses. The necessary expenses of the commission incurred by it in performing, at the instance of the district, any duty imposed by this section shall be itemized and charged by the commission to the district and shall be audited and paid as other charges against the district are audited and paid.
198.17(8) (8)Municipal loans to districts. Any municipality situated within the boundaries of a district may provide for a loan to the district to pay the preliminary organization and administration expenses of the district, on the terms that the governing bodies of the municipality and the district agree upon. The lending municipality shall have the right, at its option, to receive bonds or other obligations of the borrowing district of any issue, providing for the payment of an amount of principal equal to that of the loan authorized under this subsection, in place of the obligations created by the loan. The terms of a loan under this subsection shall in every case provide that the municipality making the loan shall receive interest from the date of the loan at not less than the rate of interest provided for in the first bonds or other securities issued by the district, to become due at the date of issue of the securities, or at some specified date prior to or not more than one year after the date of issue, subject to the limitation of total indebtedness of the district contained in s. 198.14 (9).
198.17 History History: 1979 c. 89, 177; 1991 a. 316; 1997 a. 254; 1999 a. 32.
198.18 198.18 District bonds.
198.18(1)(1)Issue, general liability. Bonds of the district may be issued to raise funds with which to purchase any permanent property for the district, to refund any valid, subsisting bonded debt of the district and for the purpose of paying and discharging any plant mortgage certificates or purchasing and retiring any bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness secured by any mortgage or deed of trust upon property acquired by the district, subject to the limitation of total indebtedness of the district contained in s. 198.14 (9). Except as otherwise provided by this chapter all bonds of the district shall be and constitute a general liability of the district and the holders thereof shall have the benefit of all legal remedies to compel the payment of the interest thereon as the same shall fall due and the principal thereof at maturity, and, in the event of any default in the payment of interest or principal when due, to compel the levy and collection of taxes by the district on all property subject to taxation therein to pay the same.
198.18(2) (2)Taxability. The bonds, plant mortgage certificates, notes or other evidence of indebtedness which may be issued, made or negotiated by the district and the income thereof shall be subject to taxation upon the same basis as the obligations of private utilities.
198.18(3) (3)Limitation of action. Bonds of the district shall be incontestable, except upon constitutional grounds, after the time provided by s. 893.77 (3), and the substance of this provision and s. 893.77 (3) shall be stated upon the face of each bond.
198.18(4) (4)Investments by districts. Reserve funds carried by the district may be invested in any bonds or plant mortgage certificates issued by the district, provided that before purchasing any of its own issues the district shall advertise for offers and purchase first those issues which, interest accrued and maturities considered, are offered at the best net price to the district. Reserve funds of the district may also be invested in the bonds or plant mortgage certificates of any other district and in any of the kinds of securities or forms of investments enumerated in s. 201.25, 1969 stats.
198.18(5) (5)Trust fund investments. Bonds and plant mortgage certificates issued by any district shall be lawful investments for any trust funds held by the state or any state institution, for any reserve or debt service funds of any municipality, for the assets of any bank, trust company, or of any trust estate and shall be accepted as deposits for any purpose for which deposit of securities may be required or authorized by law.
198.18 History History: 1971 c. 260 s. 92 (3); 1979 c. 279, 323; 1981 c. 390 s. 252; 1983 a. 207 s. 93 (8).
198.19 198.19 Annexation of territory.
198.19(1)(1)Any territory, constituting one or more municipalities contiguous to a district may be annexed to and become a part of such district to all intents and purposes and with like effect as though originally included therein upon such terms and conditions as the board of directors of the district shall fix by ordinance adopted by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the directors-elect, provided that before such ordinance becomes effective the same shall be accepted and ratified by the affirmative vote of a majority of the qualified electors entitled to vote and voting in a special election called and held for that purpose in each municipality proposed in such ordinance to be annexed to the district. Such ordinance shall be published and such election shall be noticed, held and conducted, as nearly as may be, in the manner provided by this chapter for the noticing, holding and conduct of elections upon the organization of a municipal power district, except that the returns of such election and the ballots therein shall be delivered to the clerk of the district. The results of said election shall be canvassed publicly by the directors of the district.
198.19(2) (2)Upon the annexation of any territory to any district, each municipality so annexed shall be attached to and become a part of the subdistrict to which it may be contiguous or proximate, as shall be determined and declared by ordinance or resolution adopted by the board of directors of the district, and shall so remain until such time as the board shall form and establish new boundaries for subdistricts.
198.20 198.20 Consolidation of districts.
198.20(1)(1)Any 2 power districts may be consolidated by ordinance, passed by a two-thirds vote of all of the members of the board of each power district, fixing the terms of the consolidation and ratified by the electors at a referendum held in each district. The ballots shall bear the words “For Consolidation" and “Against Consolidation". If a majority of the votes cast on the question of consolidation in each district shall be for consolidation, the ordinance shall be in effect and have the force of a contract.
198.20(2) (2)The election, and all matters pertaining to the election not otherwise provided for in this section, shall be held and conducted and the result ascertained and declared in accordance with s. 198.06 (3) and (4). The ordinance and the result of the referendum shall be certified to the secretary of state. After certification, the consolidation shall be considered complete. Consolidation shall not affect the preexisting rights or liabilities of any power districts and actions on those rights and liabilities may be commenced or completed as though no consolidation had been effected.
198.20 History History: 1973 c. 334 s. 57; 1975 c. 93 s. 113; 1997 a. 254.
198.21 198.21 District obligations inviolate. Any provision of this chapter may be altered, amended or repealed at any time by the legislature, but no amendment, repeal or alteration shall ever be enacted which shall release any district from any liability which it shall incur for the acquisition of property or for obtaining funds for the purposes of the district. The guarantees of this section shall be a part of every contract authorized by this chapter and entered into by any district under this chapter.
198.21 History History: 1997 a. 254.
198.22 198.22 Municipal water districts.
198.22(1)(1)Creation. Municipal water districts may be created as provided for in this section and when created shall be considered municipal corporations and may exercise the powers herein granted.
198.22(2) (2)Definitions. The provisions of ss. 198.01 to 198.04, 198.06 (2) to (7), 198.10 (5), 198.12 (1) to (5), 198.13 (3) to (5), 198.14 (1), (2), (5) to (8) and (10) to (15), 198.145, 198.15, 198.165, 198.17 (6) to (8), 198.18 (2) to (5), 198.21 and 893.77 (3) apply to municipal water districts, except that as applied to this section the following shall apply:
198.22(2)(a) (a) “Municipal power district," “power district" and “district" mean a municipal water district organized pursuant to this section.
198.22(2)(b) (b) “Public utility" or “utility" means the plant, equipment, material, supplies and any other or different property including contract rights, used and useful primarily for the production, transmission, purification, delivery or furnishing of water to or for the public for any purpose, or to a municipality, county or other governmental unit of this state.
198.22(3) (3)Election notice. The county clerk shall give notice of the election called pursuant to s. 198.04 (3) for the purpose of determining whether the proposed district shall be created, which notice shall state the name of the proposed district and describe its boundaries by metes and bounds, by cities, villages, towns or otherwise. The notice shall be published once a week for at least 3 successive weeks before the day of said election in some newspaper or newspapers having general circulation within the proposed district.
198.22(4) (4)Directors.
198.22(4)(a) (a) The government of each district shall be vested in a board of directors. If the district consists of an odd number of municipalities, the board of directors shall consist of one director from each municipality, but if the district consists of an even number of municipalities, the board of directors shall consist of one more than the number of municipalities in the district.
198.22(4)(b) (b) The chief executive of each municipality within the district shall appoint a director of the district who is not an officer or employee of such municipality and shall issue a certificate of such appointment to be filed with the clerk of the district. Such appointees shall meet at the time and place designated by the county clerk, and in case there is an even number of directors, they shall immediately elect, by a majority vote by ballot, an additional director who is a resident of the district but not an officer or employee of any such municipality, and issue a certificate of such election to be filed with the clerk of the district. In case such election is not made within 10 days after the first meeting of the appointees, such fact shall be at once certified by such appointees to the governor of Wisconsin who shall forthwith appoint a resident of the district who is not an officer or employee of any such municipality as such director and shall issue a certificate of such appointment to be filed with the clerk of the district.
198.22(4)(c) (c) The regular term of directors after the first term shall be for 4 years. The first term of half or, in case of an even number of directors, a majority of the directors shall be for 2 years and for the remaining director or directors, for 4 years, determined by lot. Each director shall hold office until the director's successor is appointed or elected and qualifies. Each director shall, before entering upon the discharge of the director's duties, take and subscribe to the constitutional oath of office which shall be filed with the clerk of the district.
198.22(4)(d) (d) The death of a director, a director's resignation or removal from the district, a director's becoming an officer or employee of any such municipality, or a director's disability shall vacate the office of the director. The board shall by resolution declare the office vacant and a certified copy of such resolution shall be filed forthwith by the clerk of the district with the clerk of each municipality included within the district. A successor for an expired or an unexpired term shall be elected or appointed by the officer or officers who elected or appointed the director whose term has terminated or whose office has been declared vacant, except in the case of the termination or vacancy of the term of a director appointed by the governor of Wisconsin. In such case the remaining directors shall elect the successor, and, if unable to do so, the governor shall appoint such successor as provided in sub. (4) (b).
198.22(4a) (4a)Special voting power of directors.
198.22(4a)(a)(a) The first board of directors appointed for a district under this section shall have the power to cast votes in the following manner:
198.22(4a)(a)1. 1. Each director representing a municipality which, at the time of the creation of the district has a metered record of water consumption for the year previous to the creation of the district, shall have one vote as such director and one additional vote for each million gallons of water or more than half thereof consumed by the municipality appointing said director, based on the yearly average daily consumption of water by such appointing municipality for the preceding calendar year.
198.22(4a)(a)2. 2. All other directors representing municipalities which do not have a record of metered consumption of water for the year previous to the creation of the district shall have but one vote until they have established a yearly average of daily consumption.
198.22(4a)(b) (b) When such yearly average daily consumption is of record for one year in any municipality, the director thereof shall have one additional vote for each million gallons of water or more than half thereof consumed by the municipality appointing the director.
198.22(4a)(c) (c) A quorum for a meeting of the directors shall consist of a majority of the votes eligible to be cast at said meeting as hereinbefore provided.
198.22(5) (5)Expenses of directors. A director shall be entitled to no compensation for services but shall be entitled to be reimbursed for actual and necessary traveling and hotel expenses incurred whenever it shall be necessary for the director to travel outside of the district, and such reimbursement shall be paid at the end of each month upon an itemized statement therefor filed with the clerk and approved by the board.
198.22(6) (6)Acquisition; construction; operation; 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 water utility or portion thereof, to operate, in whole or in part, in the district and to construct any addition or extension to any such utility. For such purpose 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 construction, operation or maintenance of such utility or any part thereof, subject, however, to the obligation of the district to replace said grounds in the same condition as they previously were in.
198.22(7) (7)Boundaries. Immediately upon the organization of the board of directors the clerk shall cause to be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of each county in which any part of said district is located, and shall file with the secretary of state, the department of natural resources, the governor and the clerk of each town, city or village, wholly or partly within the district, a certified copy of the boundaries of the district as set forth in the notice of election pursuant to sub. (3) or as thereafter amended. Thereafter, in any proceeding wherein the boundaries of the district are concerned, it shall be sufficient in describing said boundaries to refer to such record of such description.
198.22(8) (8)Purchases; sale; conveyances. In addition to all other powers the board of directors shall have the power and authority to purchase, lease, sell, convey and mortgage 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.
198.22(9) (9)General manager; powers. The general manager shall be the chief executive officer of the district. The general manager shall be chosen by the board of directors solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications and need not, when appointed, be a resident of the state. No member of the board shall, during the time for which that member is appointed or for 2 years thereafter, be chosen as a general manager. In case of the absence or disability of the manager, the board may designate some qualified person to perform the duties of the office during such absence or disability. The general manager shall have all the powers provided for in s. 198.16 (2) and such other power as the board may from time to time delegate to the general manager, but shall not be required to devote all of his or her time to the business of the district unless required to do so by the board. The general manager shall perform such other duties as the board may require of the general manager from time to time, and within 60 days after the end of each fiscal year cause to be published a financial report in the manner provided by the board showing the results of the operation for the preceding fiscal year and the financial status of the district on the last day thereof pursuant to an audit made by a certified public accountant employed by the board.
198.22(10) (10)Clerk, treasurer. The office of district clerk and district treasurer may be held by the same person.
198.22(11) (11)Examination and report of state department. The directors shall annually employ a certified public accountant to make an annual examination and report of the accounts and transactions of the district and of all contracts entered into by the district and make the recommendations and suggestions that seem proper and required for the efficient, economical and advantageous management and operation of the district.
198.22(12) (12)Use of income. In addition to other methods herein provided, the income of the district may be used as provided in s. 66.0811 (2).
198.22(13) (13)Distribution system standards in Milwaukee County. When any such district is established in any county having a population of 750,000 or more and containing a city of the 1st class, no municipality in such district shall construct any part of its distribution system except according to the standard of sizes and grades of materials as used by such city of the 1st class, or the standards of the American waterworks association and the department of natural resources.
2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 33 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on September 14, 2023. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after September 14, 2023, are designated by NOTES. (Published 9-14-23)