(a) Liability and property damage.
Provide public liability and property damage insurance, either in commercial companies or by self-insurance created by setting up an annual fund for such purpose or by a combination thereof, covering without limitation because of enumeration motor vehicles, malfeasance of professional employees, maintenance and operation of county highways, parks, parkways and airports and any other county activities involving the possibility of damage to the general public.
(b) Fire and casualty.
Provide for fire and casualty insurance for all county property.
Provide for individual or group hospital, surgical, and life insurance for county officers and employees and for payment of premiums for county officers and employees. A county with at least 100 employees may elect to provide health care benefits on a self-insured basis to its officers and employees. A county and one or more cities, villages, towns, other counties, county housing authorities, or school districts that together have at least 100 employees may jointly provide health care benefits to their officers and employees on a self-insured basis. Counties that elect to provide health care benefits on a self-insured basis to their officers and employees shall be subject to the requirements set forth under s. 120.13 (2) (c)
Bonds of officers and employees.
Provide for the protection of the county and public against loss or damage resulting from the act, neglect or default of county officers, department heads and employees and may contract for and procure bonds or contracts of insurance to accomplish that purpose either from commercial companies or by self-insurance created by setting up an annual fund for such purpose or by a combination thereof. Any number of officers, department heads or employees not otherwise required by statute to furnish an official bond may be combined in a schedule or blanket bond or contract of insurance. So far as applicable ss. 19.01 (2)
, (4) (d)
shall apply to the bonds or contracts of insurance. The bond shall be for a definite period. Each renewal of the bond shall constitute a new bond for the principal amount covering the renewal period.
See also s. Ins 8.11
, Wis. adm. code.
(12) Accounts and claims; settlement.
The board may:
Examine and settle all accounts of the county and all claims, demands or causes of action against the county and issue county orders therefor. In counties with a population of less than 50,000, the board may delegate its power in regard to current accounts, claims, demands or causes of action against the county to a standing committee where the amount does not exceed $5,000. In counties with a population of 50,000 or more, the board may delegate its power in regard to current accounts, claims, demands or causes of action against the county to a standing committee if the amount does not exceed $10,000. Instead of delegating its power under this paragraph to a standing committee, the board may, by resolution adopted by majority vote, delegate such power to the chairperson of a standing committee. Such a resolution remains in effect for one year after its effective date or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.
Delegate its power in regard to any claim, demand or cause of action not exceeding $500 to the corporation counsel. If the corporation counsel finds that payment of the claim to a claimant is justified, the corporation counsel may order the claim paid. The claim shall be paid upon certification of the corporation counsel and shall be annually reported to the board.
(13) Injured county workers.
The board may, in addition to any payments made under ch. 102
, make further payment in such amounts as the board determines to any county employee injured at any time before January 1, 1937, while performing services for the county, in cases in which such further payments were made over a period of time following the injury and were based on a moral obligation to such employee.
(14) Optical disc and electronic storage. 59.52(14)(a)(a)
Upon request of any office, department, commission, board, or agency of the county, the board may authorize any county record that is in the custody of the office, department, commission, board, or agency to be transferred to, or maintained in, optical disc or electronic storage in accordance with rules of the department of administration under s. 16.612
. The board may thereafter authorize destruction of the original record, if appropriate, in accordance with sub. (4)
and ss. 16.61 (3) (e)
and 19.21 (5)
unless preservation is required by law.
Any copy of a county record generated from optical imaging or electronic formatting of an original record is considered an original record if all of the following conditions are met:
The devices used to transform the record to optical disc or electronic format and to generate a copy of the record from optical disc or electronic format are ones that accurately reproduce the content of the original.
The optical disc or electronic copy and the copy generated from optical disc or electronic format comply with the minimum standards of quality for such copies, as established by the rule of the department of administration under s. 16.612
The record is arranged, identified, and indexed so that any individual document or component of the record can be located with the use of proper equipment.
The legal custodian of the record executes a statement of intent and purpose describing the record to be transferred to optical disc or electronic format and the disposition of the original record, and executes a certificate verifying that the record was received or created and transferred to optical disc or electronic format in the normal course of business and that the statement of intent and purpose is properly recorded in his or her office.
The statement of intent and purpose executed under par. (b) 4.
is presumptive evidence of compliance with all conditions and standards prescribed under par. (b)
A copy of a record generated from an original record stored on an optical disc or in electronic format that conforms with the standards prescribed under par. (b)
shall be taken as, stand in lieu of, and have all of the effect of the original record and shall be admissible in evidence in all courts and all other tribunals or agencies, administrative or otherwise, in all cases where the original document is admissible. A transcript, exemplification, or certified copy of such a record so generated, for the purposes specified in this paragraph, is deemed to be a transcript, exemplification, or certified copy of the original. An enlarged copy of any record so generated, made in accordance with the standards prescribed under par. (b)
and certified by the custodian as provided in s. 889.18 (2)
, has the same effect as an actual-size copy.
(15) Printing in local tax rolls, etc.
The board may provide for the printing in assessment rolls and tax rolls and on data cards for local municipal officials, the descriptions of properties and the names of the owners thereof, but no municipality shall be subject to any tax levied to effect these functions where the municipality provides its own printing for the functions.
(16) Payments in lieu of tax.
The board may:
(a) Institutions, state farms, airports.
Appropriate each year to any municipality and school district in which a county farm, hospital, charitable or penal institution or state hospital, charitable or penal institution or state-owned lands used for agricultural purposes or county or municipally owned airport is located, an amount of money equal to the amount which would have been paid in municipal and school tax upon the lands without buildings, if those lands were privately owned. The valuation of the lands, without buildings, and computation of the tax shall be made by the board. In making the computation under this paragraph, lands on which a courthouse or jail are located and unimproved county lands shall not be included.
If a county has acquired land and erected on that land housing facilities for rent by honorably discharged U.S. veterans of any war and the land and housing facilities are exempt from general taxation, appropriate money and pay to any school district or joint school district wherein the land and housing facilities are located a sum of money which shall be computed by obtaining the product of the following factors:
The tax rate for school district purposes of the school years for which the payment is made.
The ratio of the assessed valuation to the equalized valuation of the municipality in which the school district lies, multiplied by the actual cost incurred by the county for the acquisition of the land and improvements on the land used for such purposes.
In case of a joint school district, computation shall be made on the basis of the valuation of the several municipalities in which the school district lies. If school buildings are inadequate to accommodate the additional school population resulting from the county veterans housing program, and the school district cannot legally finance the necessary increased facilities, the board may appropriate money and grant assistance to the school district but the assistance shall be used solely to finance the purchase of land and the erection and equipment of the necessary additional facilities.
(17) Return of rents to municipalities.
The board may return to municipalities all or any part of rent moneys received by the county under leases of county-owned lands.
(18) Return of forest income to towns.
The board may return and distribute to the several towns in the county all or any part of any money received by the county from the sale of any product from county-owned lands which are not entered under the county forest law under s. 28.11
(19) Donations, gifts and grants.
The board may accept donations, gifts or grants for any public governmental purpose within the powers of the county.
(20) Sheriff's family pension.
The board may appropriate money to the family of any sheriff or sheriff's deputies killed while in the discharge of official duties.
(21) County commissions.
Except in counties having a population of 750,000 or more, the board may fix and pay the compensation of members of the county park commission and the county planning and zoning commission for attendance at meetings at a rate not to exceed the compensation permitted supervisors.
(22) County Boards' Association.
By a two-thirds vote, the board may purchase membership in an association of county boards for the protection of county interests and the furtherance of better county government.
(23) Purchase of publications.
The board may purchase publications dealing with governmental problems and furnish copies thereof to supervisors, officers and employees.
(24) Parking areas.
The board may enact ordinances establishing areas for parking of vehicles on lands owned or leased by the county; for regulating or prohibiting parking of vehicles on such areas or parts of such areas, including, but not limited to, provision for parking in such areas or parts thereof for only certain purposes or by only certain personnel; for forfeitures for violations thereof, but not to exceed $50 for each offense; and for the enforcement of such ordinances.
(25) Advisory and contingent referenda.
The board may conduct a countywide referendum for advisory purposes or for the purpose of ratifying or validating a resolution adopted or ordinance enacted by the board contingent upon approval in the referendum.
The board may procure transcripts or abstracts of the records of any other county affecting the title to real estate in such county, and such transcripts or abstracts shall be prima facie evidence of title.
(27) Bail bonds.
The authority of the board to remit forfeited bond moneys to the bondsmen or their heirs or legal representatives, where such forfeiture arises as a result of failure of a defendant to appear and where such failure to appear is occasioned by a justifiable cause, is hereby confirmed.
(28) Collection of court imposed penalties.
The board may adopt a resolution authorizing the clerk of circuit court, under s. 59.40 (4)
, to contract with a debt collector, as defined in s. 427.103 (3)
, or enter into an agreement with the department of revenue under s. 71.93 (8)
for the collection of debt.
(29) Public work, how done; public emergencies. 59.52(29)(a)(a)
All public work, including any contract for the construction, repair, remodeling or improvement of any public work, building, or furnishing of supplies or material of any kind where the estimated cost of such work will exceed $25,000 shall be let by contract to the lowest responsible bidder. Any public work, the estimated cost of which does not exceed $25,000, shall be let as the board may direct. If the estimated cost of any public work is between $5,000 and $25,000, the board shall give a class 1 notice under ch. 985
before it contracts for the work or shall contract with a person qualified as a bidder under s. 66.0901 (2)
. A contract, the estimated cost of which exceeds $25,000, shall be let and entered into under s. 66.0901
, except that the board may by a three-fourths vote of all the members entitled to a seat provide that any class of public work or any part thereof may be done directly by the county without submitting the same for bids. This subsection does not apply to public construction if the materials for such a project are donated or if the labor for such a project is provided by volunteers. This subsection does not apply to highway contracts which the county highway committee or the county highway commissioner is authorized by law to let or make.
The provisions of par. (a)
are not mandatory for the repair or reconstruction of public facilities when damage or threatened damage thereto creates an emergency, as determined by resolution of the board, in which the public health or welfare of the county is endangered. Whenever the board by majority vote at a regular or special meeting determines that an emergency no longer exists, this paragraph no longer applies.
(30) Limitation on performance of highway work.
Notwithstanding ss. 66.0131
, and 83.035
, a county may not use its own workforce to perform a highway improvement project on a highway under the jurisdiction of another county or a municipality that is located in a different county unless one of the following applies:
A portion of the project lies within the county performing the work and no portion of the project extends beyond an adjoining county.
The project lies, wholly or in part, within a municipality that lies partially within the county performing the work.
(31) Public contracts, populous counties. 59.52(31)(a)(a)
In this subsection, “county" means any county with a population of 750,000 or more.
Any contract with a value of at least $100,000, but not more than $300,000, to which a county is a party and which satisfies any other statutory requirements, may take effect only if the board's finance committee does not vote to approve or reject the contract within 14 days after the contract is signed or countersigned by the county executive, or as described in subd. 2.
If a board's finance committee votes to approve a contract described under subd. 1.
, the contract may take effect. If a board's finance committee votes to reject a contract described under subd. 1.
, the contract may take effect only if the contract is approved by a vote of the board within 30 days after the board's finance committee votes to reject the contract.
Any single contract, or group of contracts between the same parties which generally relate to the same transaction, with a value or aggregate value of more than $300,000, to which a county is a party and which satisfies any other statutory requirements, may take effect only if it is approved by a vote of the board.
With regard to any contract to which a county is a party and which is subject to review by the board or by a committee of the board under this subsection, the board's finance committee is the only committee which has jurisdiction over the contract.
(32) Research department.
In any county with a population of 750,000 or more, the board may enact an ordinance creating a department in county government to provide independent and nonpartisan research services for the board and the county executive. The department may not consist of more than 4.0 full-time equivalent positions. Employees of the department shall be hired and supervised by the comptroller, and shall serve at the pleasure of the comptroller. Such a department shall respond to requests for services from the board and the county executive. The authority to create a department under this subsection may not be exercised after the county board enacts its budget for the 2017 fiscal year.
History: 1995 a. 201
; 1995 a. 225
; 1997 a. 35
; 1999 a. 9
; 1999 a. 150
; 2001 a. 16
; 2005 a. 22
; 2007 a. 20
, 9121 (6) (a)
; 2009 a. 369
; 2011 a. 32
; 2013 a. 14
; 2013 a. 173
; 2015 a. 55
; 2017 a. 59
; 2017 a. 207
See s. 66.0137 (5)
as to payment of insurance premiums for employees.
See s. 66.0517
concerning appointment of a county weed commissioner.
A county can contract with employees for special reserved parking privileges in a county ramp. Dane Co. v. McManus, 55 Wis. 2d 413
, 198 N.W.2d 667
Section 59.08 [now s. 59.52 (29)] does not compel the purchase of equipment from the lowest bidder. Joyce v. Dunn County, 192 Wis. 2d 699
, 531 N.W.2d 628
(Ct. App. 1995).
Sub. (8) (c) does not provide the exclusive appeal remedy for discipline and termination of deputy sheriffs. A collective bargaining agreement providing for arbitration of disputes is enforceable. An employee may not pursue both a statutory appeal and arbitration however. Eau Claire County v. General Teamsters Union Local No. 662, 2000 WI 57
, 235 Wis. 2d 385
, 611 N.W.2d 744
A county rule that allowed the imposition of a reevaluation period after suspension of a law enforcement employee did not conflict with sub. (8) (b) or s. 63.10 (2). The legislative decision in s. 63.10 (2) to permit a local government to impose discipline as its rules provide was dispositive in this case. When there had been a just cause determination and hearing for the conduct at issue, the county could impose a reevaluation period with consequences for another instance of that conduct without running afoul of the requirements of the statutes. However, the reevalution period was required to conform to the county rule's requirements for specificity and relationship to the employee's violations. Miller v. Milwaukee County Personnel Review Board, 2016 WI App 83
, 372 Wis. 2d 440
, 887 N.W.2d 919
Limitations on the power of a county to sell property without calling for public bids are discussed. 60 Atty. Gen. 425.
Counties are without power to furnish equipment or supplies for, or to contract to do repair work, on private roads and driveways. 61 Atty. Gen. 304.
A county board is without authority to establish an alternative retirement system. 61 Atty. Gen. 371.
A county civil service ordinance enacted under s. 59.07 (20) [now s. 59.52 (8)], or a collective bargaining agreement under s. 111.70, establishing a procedure to be followed prior to the discharge of a classified employee, supersedes and modifies s. 59.38 (1) [now s. 59.40 (1) (a)]. 63 Atty. Gen. 147.
Section 59.07 (1) [now s. 59.52 (6)] is not sufficiently broad to permit a county to furnish housing for elderly and low-income persons when specific statutes provide for furnishing such housing. 63 Atty. Gen. 297.
Under s. 59.07 (1) (d) 1. [now s. 59.52 (6) (d) 1.], counties have authority to establish a hospital outpatient health facility to be used to train general practitioners of medicine as part of a program with the Medical College of Wisconsin. 65 Atty. Gen. 172.
Under s. 59.07 (1) (c) [now s. 59.52 (6) (c)], counties may make gifts of land or interests in lands only to enumerated public entities. 67 Atty. Gen. 236.
Under s. 59.07 (3) [now s. 59.52 (12)], a county board may require that all bills and claims be examined by it. 68 Atty. Gen. 38.
A county may enact an ordinance requiring its contractors to agree to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment, even though the ordinance provides broader protection than state and federal laws. 70 Atty. Gen. 64.
Section 59.08 (1) [now s. 59.52 (29) (a)] does not apply to architectural services. 76 Atty. Gen. 182
A county has no statutory authority to award contracts only to unionized contractors. Federal preemption rules probably foreclose the exercise of such authority in any event. Federal preemption rules foreclose denying contracts to employers engaged in labor disputes. 79 Atty. Gen. 86
A county may not acquire land specifically for the purpose of leasing it to a private entity to operate a racetrack; it may lease land initially acquired for a public purpose to such private entity, unless the land has become surplus. 80 Atty. Gen. 80
A county board may not give land to a private corporation; the adequacy of a promise to build a factory on the land as consideration for the conveyance of land involves the application of the public purpose doctrine to the specific facts of the conveyance. 80 Atty. Gen. 341
A county with a population of less that 250,000 is not required to designate an official newspaper. A county is not required to seek bids for the publication of legal notices. Even if a county does not competitively bid the publication of its own proceedings as provided in sub. (3), it may print its own proceedings or post them on its website. A county may not, in lieu of publication in a printed newspaper or posting on a physical bulletin board, post its legal notices on its official website. OAG 2-08
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
Municipal competitive bidding statutes do not apply to projects undertaken by intergovernmental agreement or when the municipalities that will perform the work have made a determination under sub. (29) to do the work themselves with their own employees. OAG 5-09
Health and human services. 59.53(1)(1)
Surplus commodity plans.
The board may adopt and participate in any surplus commodity absorption plan in connection with furnishing relief to needy persons within any municipality in the county and appropriate money to carry out such plan.
(2) Emergency energy relief.
Regardless of whether a county operates a relief program under sub. (21)
, the board may appropriate money for making payments to individuals or providing grants to community action agencies and municipalities to assist persons and families in the purchase of emergency energy supplies.
(3) Community action and nonprofit agencies.
The board may appropriate funds for promoting and assisting any community action agency under s. 49.265
, and for making payments to a nonprofit organization, as defined in s. 23.197 (4) (a) 1.
, that has as a primary purpose providing assistance to individuals who are the victims of domestic violence and related crimes. The county may also appropriate money for making payments to such a nonprofit organization for its capital and operational expenses.
(4) Comprehensive health planning.
A county or combination of counties may engage in comprehensive health planning, and boards may appropriate county funds to an areawide agency for such planning, whether the organization to be utilized is a public agency or a private, nonprofit corporation.
(5) Child and spousal support; paternity program; medical support liability program. 59.53(5)(a)
The board shall contract with the department of children and families to implement and administer the child and spousal support and establishment of paternity and the medical support liability programs provided for by Title IV of the federal social security act, except that in a county with a population of 750,000 or more the county executive shall exercise all of this authority. The board may designate by board resolution any office, officer, board, department or agency, except the clerk of circuit court, as the county child support agency and, in a county with a population of 750,000 or more, the county executive shall administer the designated county child support agency. The board, county child support agency, or county executive of a county with a population of 750,000 or more shall implement and administer the programs in accordance with the contract with the department of children and families. The attorneys responsible for support enforcement under sub. (6) (a)
, circuit court commissioners and all other county officials shall cooperate with the county and the department of children and families as necessary to provide the services required under the programs. The county shall charge the fee established by the department of children and families under s. 49.22
for services provided under this paragraph to persons not receiving benefits under s. 49.148
or assistance under s. 48.645
, or 49.472
The county child support agency under par. (a)
shall electronically enter into the statewide data system related to child and spousal support payments that is operated by the department of children and families the terms of any order made or judgment granted in the circuit court of the county requiring payments under s. 948.22 (7)
or ch. 767
that are directed under s. 767.57 (1)
to be paid to the department of children and families or its designee. The county child support agency shall enter the terms of any such order or judgment within the time required by federal law and shall enter revisions ordered by the court to any order or judgment the terms of which are maintained on the data system.
See also ch. DCF 102
and s. DHS 108.03
, Wis. adm. code.
(6) Attorneys; support enforcement responsibility. 59.53(6)(a)1.1.
Except as provided in subd. 2.
and in a county with a population of 750,000 or more, each board shall employ or contract with attorneys to provide support enforcement. In a county with a population of 750,000 or more, the county executive shall hire or contract with attorneys to provide support enforcement under this subdivision. Section 59.42 (1)
, (2) (a)
does not preclude a board from assigning these support enforcement duties to any attorney employed by the county.
If on June 1, 1989, a county has 1.0 or more full-time equivalent attorney positions that have primary responsibility for handling cases described in par. (b)
, as determined by the district attorney of the prosecutorial unit, the county shall establish and maintain a support enforcement office consisting of support enforcement attorneys and office personnel. In counties having a population of less than 750,000, a county budget under s. 65.90
shall list the proposed appropriation under s. 65.90 (2)
for the support enforcement office separate from any other office, department or activity. In counties having a population of 750,000 or more, a county budget shall treat a support enforcement office as a department, as defined in s. 59.60 (2) (a)
, separate from all other departments, and administered by the county executive. If a county ceases to employ 1.0 or more full-time equivalent attorney positions in the office, the county may provide support enforcement under subd. 1.