WI Act 377 created this statute to define Maintaining Authorities:
348.27(19) No-fee permits for implements of husbandry and agricultural commercial motor vehicles that exceed length or weight limitations.
(a) In this subsection, “maintaining authority” means the following:
- The department or its designee, with respect to state trunk highways.
- The municipality or county responsible for maintenance of the highway or its designee, with respect to any highway that is not a state trunk highway, including any connecting highway.
Wisconsin Towns Association recommends having one individual as the designee for No Fee Permits (NFP) for town officials. This designee could be a hired staff member, supervisor, or chairperson. Appointing a designee requires official board action at a properly noticed meeting.
Open meeting laws need to be considered by local towns in developing the process for handling NFP and meeting the confidentiality requirements. If the NFP designee is a supervisor or the chairperson of a 3 member board, that designee discussing a NFP with another supervisor or chairperson, creates a quorum.
Hired staff members as a designee could discuss with one supervisor for 3 member town board or on a 5 member board two supervisors without creating a quorum for open meeting laws.
In addition, the following statute was created by WI Act 377 related to confidentiality of No Fee Permits.
348.25 (19) (d)3
- Except as provided in subd. 3. b., c., and d., a maintaining authority shall keep confidential all information provided by an applicant for a permit under this subsection and this information is not open to public inspection, copying, or disclosure under s. 19.35.
- A maintaining authority described in par. (a) 2. shall disclose to the department, upon its request, information provided by an applicant for a permit under this subsection, but the department shall keep the information confidential, and this information is not open to public inspection, copying, or disclosure under s. 19.35.
- A maintaining authority shall, upon request,disclose to a law enforcement agency, for use only for law enforcement purposes, information provided by an applicant for a permit under this subsection.
- This subdivision does not prohibit a maintaining authority from disclosing on a permit under this subsection the information necessary to carry out the purpose of the permit.
A review hearing will an open session as there is no applicable closed session exemption per s. 19.85(1). However, the No Fee Permit Application itself should not be distributed.