A county veterans service officer elected under sub. (1) (a)
shall serve until the first Monday in January of the 2nd year subsequent to the year of his or her election, and, if reelected, shall continue to serve unless removed under s. 17.10 (2)
The salary of the county veterans service officer shall be fixed by the county board prior to or at the time of the service officer's election and annually thereafter.
In counties having a population of 750,000 or more the officer shall be appointed subject to ss. 63.01
The county veterans service officer shall do all of the following:
Advise persons living in the service officer's county who served in the U.S. armed forces regarding any benefits to which they may be entitled or any complaint or problem arising out of such service and render to them and their dependents all possible assistance.
Make such reports to the county board as the county board requires.
Cooperate with federal and state agencies that serve or grant aids or benefits to former military personnel and their dependents.
Furnish information about veterans burial places within the county as required by s. 45.62 (2)
Perform the duties prescribed by law, including those duties under pars. (a)
, separately and distinctly from any other county department.
The county veterans service officer may do any of the following:
Inform persons living in the service officer's county who are members of the national guard or of a reserve unit of the U.S. armed forces or dependents of those persons regarding potential benefits to which they may be or may become entitled and regarding all necessary military points of contact and general deployment information for activated and deployed members of the national guard or reserve units of the U.S. armed forces.
Cooperate with federal and state agencies that serve or grant aids or benefits to members of the national guard or reserve units of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents.
Office space and assistants. 45.80(7)(a)
The county board shall provide the county veterans service officer with office space, clerical assistance, and any other needs that will enable the officer to perform the duties under sub. (5)
Except as provided under par. (c)
, the county board may appoint assistant county veterans service officers who shall be Wisconsin residents who served on active duty under honorable conditions in the U.S. armed forces or in forces incorporated as part of the U.S. armed forces for 2 consecutive years. An individual who is discharged for reasons of hardship or a service-connected disability or released due to a reduction in the U.S. armed forces or for the good of the service prior to the completion of the required period of service is eligible for appointment to the office, regardless of the actual time served.
In any county with a county executive or county administrator, the county veterans service officer may appoint assistant county veterans service officers who shall have the qualifications prescribed under par. (b)
The qualifications necessary to be a county veterans service officer or assistant county veterans service officer under subs. (1) (a)
and (7) (b)
apply only to persons elected to serve as county veterans service officers or assistant county veterans service officers on or after June 1, 1996, and who have not served as county veterans service officers or assistant county veterans service officers before June 1, 1996.
History: 2005 a. 22
; 2017 a. 207
County veterans service commission. 45.81(1)(1)
There is created in each county a county veterans service commission consisting of at least 3 residents of the county who are veterans appointed for staggered 3-year terms by the county executive or county board chairperson in a county that does not have a county executive.
The commission shall be organized by the election of one of their number as chairperson. The county executive or county board chairperson in a county that does not have a county executive after the expiration of the terms of those first appointed shall annually on or before the 2nd Monday in December appoint one person as a member of the commission for the term of 3 years. Except as provided in s. 59.21 (1) (intro.)
, the county executive or county board chairperson shall require each member of the commission and the county veterans service officer to execute to the county an individual surety bond, with sufficient sureties to be approved by the county executive or county board chairperson, each bond to be in an amount equal to the tax levied in the current year for expenditure by the commission. Each bond shall be filed with the county clerk.
Except as provided under sub. (4)
, the commission may furnish aid to any person described in s. 45.86
if the right of that person to aid is established to the commission's satisfaction.
The secretary of the commission shall maintain a list containing the name, place of residence, and amount of aid furnished to each person under par. (a)
, which shall be signed by the chairperson and secretary of the commission.
The total disbursements made by the commission under this subsection may not exceed the amount collected from the tax levied, except when specifically authorized by the county board. The commission shall provide the county treasurer with sufficient information to deliver the specified aid to the person entitled to that aid.
The commission may furnish aid in a different manner than by supplying money. The commission may request the county treasurer to pay a purveyor of services or commodities for the purchase of services or commodities, or the commission may furnish supplies, as it considers appropriate.
The commission shall make a detailed report to the county board annually showing the amount expended under this subsection. The report may not include any personal identifying information regarding the persons that received aid under this subsection.
A county veterans service officer appointed under s. 45.80 (1) (b)
shall have the administrative powers and duties prescribed for the county veterans service commission under sub. (2)
The county board shall allow the members of the commission a reasonable rate of compensation for services and actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties to be determined under s. 59.22
. The county board may provide for the employment of clerical assistance to the commission.
The county veterans service officer shall serve as executive secretary of the county veterans service commission and shall make or direct all necessary investigations to determine eligibility for aid under s. 45.86
when the commission so requests. The county service officer, in making an investigation, may use the facilities for investigating that are made available by the county board.
History: 2005 a. 22
; 2011 a. 96
Grants to counties and tribes for improvement of services. 45.82(1)(1)
Each county may annually apply to the department for a grant for the improvement of service to former military personnel of the county through the county veterans service office. A county may not allocate any portion of a grant for use by another county department nor may the county reduce funding to a county veterans service office based upon receipt of a grant. The county veterans service officer of any county applying for the grant shall enter into an agreement with the department. The agreement shall state the goals and objectives to be attained by the county veterans service office during the remainder of the year covered by the grant application. The department shall prepare the basic form of this agreement in consultation with the county veterans service officers association and provide a copy and an explanation of that agreement to each county veterans service officer. The department shall develop reasonable budget and operating standards to assure improved services, but full operating control of the county office shall be left to each county.
The department of veterans affairs shall award a grant annually to a county that meets the standards developed under this section if the county executive, administrator, or administrative coordinator certifies to the department that it employs a county veterans service officer who, if chosen after April 15, 2015, is chosen from a list of candidates who have taken a civil service examination for the position of county veterans service officer developed and administered by the bureau of merit recruitment and selection in the department of administration, or is appointed under a civil service competitive examination procedure under s. 59.52 (8)
or ch. 63
. The grant shall be $8,500 for a county with a population of less than 20,000, $10,000 for a county with a population of 20,000 to 45,499, $11,500 for a county with a population of 45,500 to 74,999, and $13,000 for a county with a population of 75,000 or more. The department of veterans affairs shall use the most recent Wisconsin official population estimates prepared by the demographic services center when making grants under this subsection.
Notwithstanding sub. (2)
, an eligible county with a part-time county veterans service officer shall be eligible for an annual grant not exceeding $500.
The department shall provide grants to the governing bodies of federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands from the appropriation under s. 20.485 (2) (km)
if that governing body enters into an agreement with the department regarding the creation, goals, and objectives of a tribal veterans service officer, appoints a veteran to act as a tribal veterans service officer, and gives that veteran duties similar to the duties described in s. 45.80 (5)
, except that the veteran shall report to the governing body of the tribe or band. The department may make annual grants in an amount not to exceed $15,000 per grant under this subsection and shall promulgate rules to implement this subsection.
See also chs. VA 8
, Wis. adm. code.
Transportation services grants to counties. 45.83(1)(1)
Annually, from the appropriation under s. 20.485 (2) (s)
, the department shall award grants to counties that are not served by transportation services provided by the Wisconsin department of Disabled American Veterans to develop, maintain, and expand transportation services for veterans. The grants may be used to support multicounty cooperative transportation services.
The department shall promulgate rules specifying the application procedures and eligibility criteria for grants under this section.
A county may not reduce funding to a county veterans service office based upon receipt of a grant.
History: 2005 a. 22
See also ch. VA 16
, Wis. adm. code.
Burial allowance. 45.84(1)(1)
Each county veterans service officer shall cause to be interred in a decent and respectable manner in any cemetery in this state, other than those used exclusively for the burial of paupers, the body of any veteran, spouse, or surviving spouse who was living in the county at the time of death and who dies not leaving sufficient means to defray the necessary expenses of a decent burial, or under circumstances that would cause financial distress to the person's family. The cost of this interment shall be the responsibility of the county, but may not be less than $300, and shall be in addition to the burial allowance payable under laws administered by the U.S. department of veterans affairs.
Before assuming the burial expense, the county veterans service officer shall exercise due diligence in attempting to determine the financial condition required by sub. (1)
. The county veterans service officer, in making the inquiry, may use the facilities for investigation that are made available by the county board. The county veterans service officer shall report the results of that determination to the appropriate authorities designated by the county.
The chairperson of the county board and the clerk of the county on the receipt of the report under sub. (2)
shall draw an order on the county treasurer for the amount of expenses so incurred, payable to the person designated in the report as being entitled to that payment. The county veterans service officer of each county shall, upon the death and burial of a veteran described under sub. (1)
who was living in the county at the time of death, make application to the proper authorities for a suitable headstone as provided for by act of congress, and at the expense of the county cause the same to be placed at the head of the deceased's grave.
History: 2005 a. 22
Care of graves. 45.85(1)(1)
Every town board, village board, or common council of every city shall at all times see that the graves and tombstones of all veterans, including women's auxiliary organizations created by act of Congress, who shall at any time have served in any branch of the armed forces of the United States, and of the spouses or surviving spouses of all those veterans, receive proper and decent care, and may employ all necessary assistance to carry out this section. The expense of the care of the graves and tombstones shall be borne by the county where the graves are located, except where suitable care is otherwise provided. The amount of expense charged the county for the care may not exceed the charge made for the care of other graves in the same cemetery.
The governing body specified in sub. (1)
shall report to the county clerk of its county, on or before September 1 of each year, the locations of the graves cared for by the governing body under sub. (1)
, together with the names of the deceased and the amount claimed for care of the graves for the fiscal year from the previous July 1 to June 30.
The chairperson of the county board and the county clerk, upon receipt of the report under sub. (2)
, shall draw an order on the county treasurer for the amount of the expenses incurred in caring for the graves, payable to the person or persons designated in the report as being entitled to the payment.
History: 2005 a. 22
County tax for needy veterans. 45.86(1)(1)
Every county board shall annually levy, in addition to all other taxes, a tax sufficient to carry out the purposes of this section. The tax shall be levied and collected as other county taxes for the purpose of providing aid to needy veterans, the needy spouses, surviving spouses, minor and dependent children of the veterans, and the needy parents of veterans entitled to aid under ss. 45.81
, and to carry out the purposes of s. 45.85
. Aid may not be denied solely on the basis that a person otherwise eligible for aid owns a homestead that the person occupies.
The county veterans service commission or county veterans service officer shall estimate the probable amount required under this section and shall file that estimate with the county board.
History: 2005 a. 22