In this chapter:
“Affected property" means real property in this state that is owned by a person who, with respect to the property, is responsible for waterway improvement costs due to discharges from the property into the Fox River extending from Lake Winnebago to the mouth of the river in Lake Michigan and any portion of Green Bay in Lake Michigan containing sediments affected by discharges into the Fox River.
“Authority" means the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority.
“Board" means the board of directors of the authority.
“Bond" means, except in s. 279.19 (1) (a)
, a bond, note, or other obligation of the authority issued under this chapter, including a refunding bond.
“Bond resolution" means a resolution of the board authorizing the issuance of, or providing terms and conditions related to, bonds and includes, when appropriate, any trust agreement or trust indenture providing terms and conditions for the bonds.
“Consenting landowner" means a person who owns affected property, or a parent or subsidiary of such a person, who requests the authority to issue bonds for waterway improvement costs, and who consents to the levy of an assessment on the affected property.
“Waterway improvement" means any of the following actions, taken under an administrative or judicial order or decree or an administratively or judicially approved agreement, related to discharges into the Fox River:
Determining whether a discharge occurred, whether the discharge poses a significant threat to human health and the environment, or whether additional remedial actions may be required with respect to a discharge.
“Waterway improvement costs" means the costs of waterway improvements and any of the following:
The reasonable costs of financing provided by the authority and associated administrative costs incurred by the authority.
The fees and charges imposed by the authority or by others in connection with the financing.
A reserve for payment of the principal and interest on bonds issued by the authority.
History: 2007 a. 20
Creation and organization. 279.02(1)(1)
There is created a public body politic and corporate to be known as the “Lower Fox River Remediation Authority." The board shall consist of 7 members nominated by the governor, and with the advice and consent of the senate appointed, for 7-year terms. Members of the board shall be residents of the state, and not more than 4 of the members may be members of the same political party. The terms of the members expire on June 30. Each member's appointment remains in effect until a successor is appointed. Annually, the governor shall appoint one member as chairperson and the board shall elect one member as vice chairperson.
The board shall appoint an executive director and may appoint an associate executive director who may not be members of the board and who shall serve at the pleasure of the board. The board shall determine the compensation of the executive director and any associate executive director, except that the compensation of the executive director may not exceed the maximum of the salary range established under s. 20.923 (1)
for positions assigned to executive salary group 4 and the compensation of each other employee of the authority may not exceed the maximum of the salary range established under s. 20.923 (1)
for positions assigned to executive salary group 3. The executive director, associate executive director, or other person designated by resolution of the board shall keep a record of the proceedings of the authority and shall be custodian of all books, documents, and papers filed with the authority, the minute book or journal of the authority, and its official seal. The executive director, associate executive director, or other person may cause copies to be made of all minutes and other records and documents of the authority and may give certificates under the official seal of the authority to the effect that the copies are true copies, and all persons dealing with the authority may rely upon the certificates.
Four members of the board constitute a quorum. The affirmative vote of a majority of all of the members of the board is necessary for any action taken by the authority. A vacancy in the membership of the board does not impair the right of a quorum to exercise all of the rights and perform all of the duties of the authority. Each meeting of the board shall be open to the public. Notice of meetings, or waivers thereof, shall be as provided in the bylaws of the authority. Resolutions of the authority need not be published or posted. The board may delegate by resolution to one or more of its members or the executive director the powers and duties that it considers proper.
The members of the board shall receive no compensation for the performance of their duties as members, but each member shall be reimbursed for the member's actual and necessary expenses while engaged in the performance of the member's duties.
It is not a conflict of interest or violation of this chapter for a trustee, director, officer, or employee of a consenting landowner to serve as a member of the board if the trustee, director, officer, or employee of the consenting landowner abstains from discussion, deliberation, action, and vote by the board in specific respect to any undertaking under this chapter in which the consenting landowner has an interest.
It is not a conflict of interest or violation of this chapter for a person having the required favorable reputation for skill, knowledge, and experience in state and municipal finance to serve as a member of the board if the person having the required favorable reputation for skill, knowledge, and experience in state and municipal finance abstains from discussion, deliberation, action, and vote by the board in specific respect to any sale, purchase, or ownership of bonds of the authority in which any business of which the person is a participant, owner, officer, or employee has a past, current, or future interest.
It is not a conflict of interest or violation of this chapter for a person having the required favorable reputation for skill, knowledge, and experience in the field of environmental remediation to serve as a member of the board if the person having the required favorable reputation for skill, knowledge, and experience in the field of environmental remediation abstains from discussion, deliberation, action, and vote by the board in specific respect to a waterway improvement in which any business of which the person is a participant, owner, officer, or employee has a past, current, or future interest.
does not apply to the employees of the authority, except that s. 230.40
does apply to the employees of the authority.
History: 2007 a. 20
Powers of authority.
The authority has all of the powers necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes and provisions of this chapter. In addition, the authority may do any of the following:
Adopt bylaws, policies, and procedures for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business.
Adopt an official seal and alter the seal at pleasure.
Sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded.
Enter into any contracts that are necessary or useful for the conduct of its business.
Employ or contract with attorneys, accountants, and financial experts and any other necessary employees or agents, and fix the compensation of employees, subject to s. 279.02 (2)
Appoint any technical or professional advisory committee that the authority finds necessary, define the duties of any committee, and provide reimbursement for the expenses of any committee.
Accept contributions or grants in money, property, labor, or other things of value and comply with any restrictions on the use of the contributions or grants.
Obtain or aid in obtaining, from any department or agency of the United States or of this state or from any private company, any insurance or guaranty concerning the payment or repayment of all or part of the interest or principal, or both, on any bond issued under this chapter; and enter into any agreement, contract, or other instrument with respect to that insurance or guaranty, accept payment in the manner and form provided in such an agreement in case of default in payment of the bonds, and assign the insurance or guaranty as security for the authority's bonds.
History: 2007 a. 20
; 2021 a. 238
All expenses of the authority are payable solely from funds obtained under the authority of this chapter, and no liability may be incurred by the authority beyond the extent to which moneys are obtained under this chapter. For the purposes of meeting the necessary expenses of initial organization and operation of the authority until the authority derives moneys from funds provided to it under the authority of this chapter, other than this section, the authority may use the funds appropriated under s. 20.375 (1) (a)
The authority shall apportion among and assess to consenting landowners, in an equitable manner, an amount equal to the amount expended from the appropriation under s. 20.375 (1) (a)
and pay that amount to the department of administration for deposit in the general fund.
History: 2007 a. 20
Application for bond issuance. 279.05(1)(1)
One or more owners of affected property may submit an application requesting the authority to issue bonds to finance all or a portion of the waterway improvement costs associated with the affected property. An application under this subsection shall include all of the following:
A copy of an administrative or judicial order or decree or an administratively or judicially approved agreement that imposes financial responsibility for a waterway improvement on the applicant or applicants.
An acknowledgement by the applicant or applicants that the waterway improvement will confer a benefit on the affected property.
The consent of the applicant or applicants to the levy of an assessment by the authority on the affected property at the times and in the amounts that the authority determines.
A waiver by the applicant or applicants of any requirement for notice and hearing and of any right to oppose the levy of the assessment.
A consenting land owner who submits an application under sub. (1)
may recommend to the authority an underwriter for the bonds that the owner of affected property requests the authority to issue.
History: 2007 a. 20
Approval of application and issuance of bonds. 279.06(1)(1)
The board may approve an application under s. 279.05 (1)
if the application complies with s. 279.05 (1)
and if the authority makes a determination that the waterway improvement will last for many years and will result in long-term benefits to this state. The authority may issue bonds as provided in this section and s. 279.07
to finance all or a portion of the waterway improvement to which an approved application relates.
The authority shall notify the department of natural resources of its action on an application under s. 279.05 (1)
at the same time that it notifies the applicant or applicants.
All of the authority's bonds are negotiable for all purposes, notwithstanding their payment from a limited source.
The authority shall use the building commission as its financial consultant to assist in and coordinate the issuance of bonds under this chapter.
The bonds of each issue shall be payable solely out of a special fund into which the authority deposits the assessments imposed by the authority against the affected property with respect to which the bonds are issued.
The authority may not issue bonds unless the issuance is authorized by a bond resolution. The bonds shall bear the dates; mature at the times not exceeding 30 years from their dates of issue; bear interest at the rates, fixed or variable; be payable at the times; be in the denominations; be in fully registered form; carry the registration and conversion privileges; be executed in the manner; be payable in money of the United States at the places; and be subject to the terms of redemption that the bond resolution provides. The bonds shall be executed by the manual or facsimile signatures of the officers of the authority designated by the board. The bonds may be sold at public or private sale at the price, in the manner, and at the time determined by the board. The bonds may be issued as serial bonds payable in annual installments, as term bonds, or as a combination of both types.
Any bond resolution may contain provisions, that shall be a part of the contract with the holders of the bonds, regarding any of the following:
Setting aside reserves or sinking funds, and the regulation, investment, and disposition of the reserves or sinking funds.
Limitations on the purpose to which, or the investments in which, the proceeds of the sale of any issue of bonds may be applied.
Procedures by which the terms of any contract with bondholders may be amended or abrogated, the amount of bonds the holders of which must consent to the amendment or abrogation, and the manner in which this consent may be given.
Defining the acts or omissions to act that constitute a default in the duties of the authority to the bondholders, and providing the rights and remedies of the bondholders in the event of a default.
Any other matter relating to the bonds that the board considers desirable.
Neither the members of the board nor any person executing the bonds of the authority is liable personally on the bonds or subject to any personal liability or accountability by reason of the issuance of the bonds.
The authority shall pay the net proceeds of bonds issued under this section to the entity to which moneys for waterway improvements are required to be paid by the administrative or judicial order or decree or administratively or judicially approved agreement described in s. 279.05 (1) (a)
An entity that receives moneys under par. (a)
may use those moneys only for the waterway improvement costs for which the bonds are issued. If the actual waterway improvement costs to be paid from the authority's bonds are less than the assessments levied by the authority, the entity shall return the excess to the authority.
History: 2007 a. 20
Before it issues bonds, the authority shall follow the procedures in this section for levying an assessment on the affected property of any consenting landowner whose application for issuance of the bonds is approved under s. 279.06 (1)
. The consenting landowner shall pay the assessment to the authority. An assessment under this section is a lien against the affected property. The authority shall provide notice of the lien of assessment to the register of deeds of the county in which the affected property is located for recording.
The assessment levied with respect to a bond issue shall be sufficient to do all of the following:
Pay the share of the administrative costs of the authority that is allocated to the bond issue.
Pay the costs of any financial and legal services incurred by the authority and any other item of direct or indirect cost that may reasonably be attributed to processing the application under s. 279.05 (1)
, issuing the bonds, and imposing the assessment on the affected property.
Pay the principal of and the premium, if any, and interest on the bonds as they become due and payable.
Create and maintain any reserve that is required or provided for in the bond resolution.
If the authority assesses more than one consenting landowner in connection with a bond issue, it shall determine the amount to be assessed on the affected property of each consenting landowner in a manner that is consistent with the administrative or judicial order or decree or administratively or judicially approved agreement described in s. 279.05 (1) (a)
and that considers such factors as present and past capacity for discharges; estimates of actual discharges; the degree of toxicity and water quality characteristics of past and present discharges; involvement in the generation, treatment, transportation, storage, or disposal of discharged substances; the degree of care exercised in reducing discharges; and the amount of impervious surface on each affected property.
Before finalizing its determination of the amount of the assessment to be levied on affected property under this section, the board shall pass a preliminary resolution declaring its intent with respect to the assessment. In the resolution, the board shall include all of the following:
A general description of the contemplated purpose of the assessment.
A description of the affected property proposed to be assessed.
The number of installments in which the assessments may be paid or a statement that the number of payments will be determined at the hearing required under sub. (8)
A direction to an officer or employee of the authority to make a report on the proposed assessment.
The officer or employee directed to make a report under sub. (4) (d)
shall include all of the following in the report:
A reference to the administrative or judicial order or decree or administratively or judicially approved agreement described in s. 279.05 (1) (a)
An estimate, as to each affected property, of the assessment to be levied.
The officer or employee making the report under sub. (5)
shall file a copy of the report with the authority for public inspection.
After the report has been filed under sub. (6)
, the authority shall publish a class 1 notice, under ch. 985
, that describes all of the following: