Altering the plan of improvement. 32.56(1)(1)
The city may alter the plan of improvement after its approval under s. 32.55 (2)
at any time prior to the confirmation of the assessment of benefits and damages. The board shall submit to the common council the proposed alteration of the plan plus an amended estimate of the cost and the benefits and an amended map of the proposed improvement. The common council shall approve the alteration by resolution before the alteration is effective. If the city alters the plan while benefits and damages are being assessed under s. 32.57
, the board shall reassess benefits and damages based on the altered plan.
(2) Recording the alteration.
The city attorney shall record the common council's resolution approving the alteration under sub. (1)
plus a description of the alteration in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which the property is located.
History: 1983 a. 236
; 1993 a. 301
Determining benefits and damages. 32.57(1)(1)
After approving the plan under s. 32.55 (2)
, the common council may adopt a resolution directing the board to determine the damages to be paid for property condemned and the benefits to be assessed against property benefited within the benefit district. The board shall include the cost of all property acquired by purchase or condemnation for the improvement, as well as the cost of physical improvements that are approved under s. 32.55 (2)
, in the assessment of benefits and shall report its findings to the common council.
(2) Exempt property.
The board may not assess benefits against any property:
Owned exclusively by the federal government.
Owned exclusively by or held in trust exclusively for this state, if exempt from taxation. Land contracted to be sold by this state is not exempt from assessment. State land that is part of a pedestrian mall under s. 62.71
is exempt from assessment only if it is held or used exclusively for highway purposes. State payment of assessments against a pedestrian mall is governed by s. 66.0705 (2)
Owned or occupied rent free exclusively by any county, city, village, town, school district or free public library.
Used exclusively for public parks, boulevards or pleasure drives by any city or village.
Owned by a military organization as a public park or memorial ground and not used for profit.
Owned by any religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational or benevolent association, incorporated historical society or public library association or by any fraternal society, order or association operating under the lodge system if the property is used not for profit or lease exclusively for the purposes of the association and is necessary for the location and convenience of the buildings of the association. This paragraph does not apply to any university, college or high school fraternity or sorority. Property reserved for a chartered college or university is exempt from assessment. Leasing buildings owned by associations listed in this paragraph for schools, public lectures, concerts or parsonage does not waive this exemption from assessment.
Owned by any corporation formed solely to encourage the fine arts without capital stock and paying no dividends or profits to its members.
Under any endowment or trust for the benefit of a state historical society.
Owned and used exclusively by any state or county agricultural society or by any corporation or association for the encouragement of industry by agricultural and industrial fairs and exhibitions or for exhibition and sale of agricultural and dairy stock, products and property. Real property exempt under this paragraph may not exceed 80 acres. The corporation or association may permit use of this property as places of amusement.
Owned or operated for cemetery purposes by any cemetery authority, as defined in s. 157.061 (2)
, including any building located in the cemetery and owned and occupied exclusively by the cemetery authority for cemetery purposes or any property held under s. 157.064
On which a Wisconsin national guard armory is located.
Of any public art gallery to which the public has free access not less than 3 days per week.
Of any religious organization, up to 320 acres, used as a home for the mentally ill, as defined in s. 51.01 (13)
On which is located a memorial hall to members of the armed forces, owned by the Grand Army of the Republic, the Women's Relief Corps, the Sons of Veterans, the United Spanish War Veterans, the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Owned and used exclusively by any collective bargaining unit established under ch. 111
Owned and used exclusively by any farmers' organization.
Owned by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.
Owned by an incorporated turner society and used exclusively for educational purposes.
After the city adopts a resolution under sub. (1)
, the board shall publish a class 3 notice under ch. 985
that at a specified time and place the board shall meet to hear the testimony of any interested party regarding the benefits or damages resulting from the proposed improvement. The notice shall also briefly describe the general nature of the proposed improvement for which the assessment of benefits and damages is to be made and the general boundary line of the benefit district.
At least 12 days before the hearing the board shall commence publishing the class 3 notice and mail a copy of the notice to the last-known mailing address of any owner of property that may be damaged or benefited by the proposed improvement. The board shall also mail a copy of the notice to a mortgagee of each parcel of property affected by damages. Failure of these notices to reach an owner or mortgagee does not invalidate the assessment of benefits or damages.
The board shall hold the preliminary hearing for at least 3 successive days, Sundays and legal holidays excluded, at which it shall hear testimony and consider evidence on the damages and the benefits resulting from the proposed improvement. Following the testimony, the board shall appraise the damages to property to be condemned by the proposed improvement. The board shall add the damages, the estimated expense of the proposed improvement and the cost of the proceedings and shall apportion the total cost among the property benefited in proportion to the benefits resulting from the proposed improvement. The board shall reduce its assessment of benefits to real property remaining of a larger parcel from which a portion has been given or dedicated for use as part of the proposed improvement by the reasonable value of the real property given or dedicated.
(4) Tentative assessment of benefits and damages.
The damages appraised under sub. (3) (c)
are the compensation to all owners of the property. The board shall state separately the assessment of benefits to each piece of property. The board shall balance the appraisal of damages against any assessment of benefits to remaining property and record the difference.
After tentatively assessing benefits and damages under sub. (4)
, the board shall commence publishing a class 3 notice under ch. 985
stating that the tentative assessment is complete and will be open for review at a certain time and place. The notice shall also include the information required under sub. (3) (a)
At least 18 days before the review hearing the board shall publish the notice and shall mail a copy of the notice as specified in sub. (3) (b)
. Failure of these notices to reach an owner or mortgagee does not invalidate the assessment of benefits and damages.
The board shall hold the review hearing for at least 2 days, at which it shall hear testimony and consider evidence on the amount of benefits and damages assessed.
Following the review hearing the board shall review the testimony and evidence received and determine its final assessment of benefits and damages. The board shall list its final assessment of benefits and damages separately and shall also list the difference between the benefits and damages to each parcel of property, so that the owner pays or receives only the difference. The board shall report its final assessment in writing to the common council.
The common council shall record the date the final assessment report is submitted under sub. (5) (d)
in its journal with a brief statement describing for what purpose and in what general locality the assessment has been made. The common council may not act upon the report until the day after the report's submission.
The common council may confirm the assessment or remand the assessment to the board for revision and correction. If the common council remands the assessment to the board, the board shall review, correct and revise the assessment by holding a public hearing and providing notice of the hearing under sub. (3)
, reappraising damages and benefits under sub. (4)
and allowing review of the revised assessment under sub. (5)
. The common council shall hear the revised assessment under this subsection. If the common council fails to confirm the assessment or remand the assessment to the board for revision and correction, it shall adopt a resolution terminating the project. Termination does not prevent the city from including the same property in a subsequent public improvement that involves the same or another municipal purpose.
After confirming the assessment under sub. (6) (b)
the common council shall deliver a certified copy of the assessment to both the city treasurer and the city comptroller.
The city attorney shall record with the register of deeds the resolution confirming the assessment of benefits and damages together with a description of the property to be condemned and the map showing the location of the condemned property. The assessment of benefits and damages need not be recorded with the register of deeds.
Benefit assessment payments. 32.58(1)(1)
Mailing bills to owners.
After the common council confirms the final assessment of benefits and damages the city treasurer shall mail a bill for the full amount of the benefit assessment to the last-known mailing address of any owner of each parcel of property within the benefit district, as listed on the tax roll. The bill may be paid without interest if payment is remitted to the city treasurer within 45 days of the date of billing. Failure of this mailing to reach an owner does not affect the assessment or create any liability.
If any property owner fails to pay the benefit assessment in full within 45 days of the date of billing, the city treasurer shall place the assessment plus any interest accruing on the tax roll, subject to the following conditions:
If the unpaid principal equals or exceeds $125, the bill shall be spread equally over the first available tax roll and the next 5 tax rolls. The common council may direct that unpaid assessments to finance a municipal parking system under s. 66.0829
, plus interest accruing, be spread over the first available tax roll and up to the next 19 tax rolls.
If the unpaid principal is less than $125, the bill shall be added to the first available tax roll.
The common council shall establish the interest rate on unpaid principal.
Any property owner may pay the outstanding principal and interest on a benefit assessment in full at any time. Unless the city issues or will issue bonds under s. 32.67
or 32.69 (2)
, interest on the benefit assessment is computed to the date of payment. If the city issues or will issue bonds, interest is computed to a date 6 months following the date of payment and interest on an installment of the assessment that falls due within this 6-month period is computed to the date the installment falls due.
After payment in full the city comptroller may purchase any bond issued against the assessment, without action of the common council, to prevent further payment of interest on the bond. The city may cancel the bond after purchase. The city comptroller shall report to the common council each July concerning all bonds purchased and canceled.
(3) Failure to pay.
If any property owner is delinquent in paying a benefit assessment:
The county treasurer, under s. 74.57
or the city treasurer, if authorized to act under s. 74.87
, may include the owner's property in a tax certificate to collect the delinquent assessment, unless a special improvement bond under s. 32.67
is issued against the property. If the city has issued a special improvement bond against the owner's property, it may foreclose the property to collect the delinquent assessment. Even if only part of the property is within the benefit district and assessed benefits, the entire property may be sold or foreclosed to collect the delinquent assessment.
The city may attach a lien on the owner's property as of the date the assessment is placed on the tax roll under sub. (2) (a)
. The lien has the same priority as liens under s. 70.01
(4) Separate account.
The city treasurer shall keep a separate account for the collection of benefit assessments that finance special improvement bonds issued under s. 32.67
. The amounts collected shall be used to pay the principal and interest on the bonds.
Appeal to circuit court. 32.61(1)(1)
Limitation on remedies.
An appeal to the circuit court is the only remedy for damages incurred under this subchapter and is the exclusive method of reviewing any assessment of benefits.
(2) Statute of limitations; bond.
Any person with any interest in property assessed benefits or damages may, within 20 days after the common council confirms the assessment, appeal to the circuit court of the county in which the assessment is made by filing with the clerk of the circuit court a notice of appeal. The notice shall state the person's residence and interest in the property, the interest of any other person in the property, any lien attached to the property and the grounds of the appeal, together with a $100 bond to the city for the payment of court costs. At least 2 sureties shall sign the bond and state on the bond that each has a net worth in property within this state not exempt from execution at least equal to $100. If the city attorney objects to the bond or sureties the judge shall determine the suitability of the bond or sureties. Any surety company authorized to do business in this state may sign the bond as surety. Within this 20-day period the appellant shall also deliver a copy of the notice of appeal and bond to the city attorney. The city clerk shall send to the clerk of the circuit court a certified copy of the assessment of benefits and damages. If more than one person appeals, the city clerk shall send only one certified copy of the assessment for all appeals. Any person may pay any benefits assessed against his or her property without prejudice to the right of appeal under this section.
(3) Procedure on appeal; parties; costs.
The appeal shall be conducted before a jury. The court may permit any person interested in the benefits or damages to the same piece of property to become a party to the appeal if the person submits a petition setting forth the nature and extent of the interest. If the judgment is less than the damages assessed by the city, the judgment less the taxable costs of the city is full compensation for the damages. If the judgment is greater than the damages assessed by the city, the judgment is full compensation for the damages, plus interest only on the amount by which the judgment increases the award. If the city pays the award of damages under s. 32.62 (2) (c)
, the city may withdraw the award prior to the determination of an appeal only if it files a bond approved by the court to repay the amount withdrawn with costs and with interest from the date of the withdrawal. If the judgment decreases the benefits assessed by the city or increases the damages assessed, the appellant shall recover taxable costs on the appeal. Under any other judgment, the city recovers taxable costs. The city may pay any increased cost from its general fund by levying a tax or by issuing a general obligation bond under s. 67.04
. The appeal has preference over all other civil cases not on trial and may be brought on for trial by either party.
(4) Assessment changes on appeal. 32.61(4)(a)
The city shall correct its tax roll to reflect any changes in benefits assessed by the judgment under sub. (3)
If the appellant pays any installment or all of any benefits assessed prior to a judgment reducing the benefits assessed, the city shall refund the excess payment plus interest. If the county issues a tax certificate on any property for any delinquent benefit assessment that is subsequently reduced by a judgment, the county shall refund the amount reduced plus interest upon presentation of a receipt showing the redemption of the property under s. 75.01
If the appellant pays any installment or all of any benefits assessed or if the county issues a tax certificate on any property for any delinquent benefit assessment prior to a judgment increasing the benefits assessed, the city shall enter the increase in benefits, plus interest on the increase in benefits from the date of the judgment entered on appeal, on the tax roll against the property. The city shall enter the revised assessment on the tax roll in one sum if the original benefit assessment was payable or paid in one sum, or shall add equal portions of the revised assessment to any subsequent benefit assessment installments assessed against the property and enter the additions on the following tax rolls.
If the city issues particular special improvement bonds under s. 32.67 (2)
prior to a judgment reducing the benefits assessed against the property, any foreclosure of the bonds shall be for the reduced amount only of the benefits assessed. The city shall reimburse the bondholder for the difference due on the bonds.
Transfer of title. 32.62(1)(1)
Fee simple title to city.
If the city acquires any property by gift, purchase or condemnation under this subchapter, the city holds fee simple title to the property except that the city may acquire only an easement for streets, alleys, bridges, viaducts or water or sewer mains or branches and may acquire temporary construction easements.
The city acquires title to any property if any of the following occur:
The city reserves sufficient funds to pay the property owner the damages assessed under s. 32.57
and the board provides the property owner with 10 days' notice of the availability of the funds prior to acquisition by publication in any newspaper of general circulation in the city.
The city deposits the damages assessed under s. 32.57
with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the property is located for payment by order of the court under par. (c)
Any person entitled to payment for an assessment of damages exceeding $200 shall furnish to the city an abstract of title extended down to date to prove ownership, before the city may pay the assessment of damages. If the assessment of damages does not exceed $200, the claimant may furnish a certificate of title to prove ownership instead of an abstract of title.
The city may deposit the assessed damages with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the property is located. Deposit with the circuit court clerk relieves the city of any responsibility for the payment of damages and vests title to the property with the city. The circuit court has jurisdiction over the application of any party interested in the assessed damages, after notifying all interested parties and receiving proof of the applicant's interest, to distribute the payment of damages.
The city may deposit the assessed damages with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the property is located if either of the following persons fails to accept a payment of damages:
A trustee vested with title to property condemned under this subchapter but who is not authorized to convey the property.
A guardian of a person with an interest in property condemned under this subchapter.
The city shall notify the trustee or guardian of the deposit under subd. 1.
Deposit with the circuit court clerk relieves the city of any responsibility for the payment of damages and vests title to the property with the city. The circuit court has jurisdiction over the application of any trustee or guardian to determine the rights of the parties and distribute the payment of damages.
Payment of damages assessed under s. 32.57
voids all encumbrances to title, including any contract, lease or covenant attached to the property. Payment of assessed damages satisfies the interests in the property of all parties to the encumbrances.
(3) Payment of taxes.
The city may collect any unpaid property taxes, including property taxes assessed for the current year prior to transfer of title to the city, by reducing the assessed damages payable to the property owner proportionately. The court with jurisdiction under sub. (2) (c)
may reduce the assessed damages proportionately prior to ordering the distribution of the assessed damages.
(4) Writ of assistance.
If the city is unable to obtain possession of the property under sub. (2)
, a circuit court may grant a writ of assistance with 24 hours' notice to assist the transfer of title. If the city receives a writ of assistance pending an appeal, the appellant may receive the money paid into court upon the order of the court without prejudice to the appeal.
History: 1983 a. 236