Town Designee to Handle No Fee Permits

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:

  1. The department or its designee, with respect to state trunk highways.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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