2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 198. Municipal power and water districts.
198.22 Municipal water districts.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 198.22 (2017)

198.22 Municipal water districts.

(1)Creation. Municipal water districts may be created as provided for in this section and when created shall be considered municipal corporations and may exercise the powers herein granted.

(2)Definitions. The provisions of ss. 198.01 to 198.04, 198.06 (2) to (7), 198.10 (5), 198.12 (1) to (5), 198.13 (3) to (5), 198.14 (1), (2), (5) to (8) and (10) to (15), 198.145, 198.15, 198.165, 198.17 (6) to (8), 198.18 (2) to (5), 198.21 and 893.77 (3) apply to municipal water districts, except that as applied to this section the following shall apply:

(a) “Municipal power district," “power district" and “district" mean a municipal water district organized pursuant to this section.

(b) “Public utility" or “utility" means the plant, equipment, material, supplies and any other or different property including contract rights, used and useful primarily for the production, transmission, purification, delivery or furnishing of water to or for the public for any purpose, or to a municipality, county or other governmental unit of this state.

(3)Election notice. The county clerk shall give notice of the election called pursuant to s. 198.04 (3) for the purpose of determining whether the proposed district shall be created, which notice shall state the name of the proposed district and describe its boundaries by metes and bounds, by cities, villages, towns or otherwise. The notice shall be published once a week for at least 3 successive weeks before the day of said election in some newspaper or newspapers having general circulation within the proposed district.


(a) The government of each district shall be vested in a board of directors. If the district consists of an odd number of municipalities, the board of directors shall consist of one director from each municipality, but if the district consists of an even number of municipalities, the board of directors shall consist of one more than the number of municipalities in the district.

(b) The chief executive of each municipality within the district shall appoint a director of the district who is not an officer or employee of such municipality and shall issue a certificate of such appointment to be filed with the clerk of the district. Such appointees shall meet at the time and place designated by the county clerk, and in case there is an even number of directors, they shall immediately elect, by a majority vote by ballot, an additional director who is a resident of the district but not an officer or employee of any such municipality, and issue a certificate of such election to be filed with the clerk of the district. In case such election is not made within 10 days after the first meeting of the appointees, such fact shall be at once certified by such appointees to the governor of Wisconsin who shall forthwith appoint a resident of the district who is not an officer or employee of any such municipality as such director and shall issue a certificate of such appointment to be filed with the clerk of the district.

(c) The regular term of directors after the first term shall be for 4 years. The first term of half or, in case of an even number of directors, a majority of the directors shall be for 2 years and for the remaining director or directors, for 4 years, determined by lot. Each director shall hold office until the director's successor is appointed or elected and qualifies. Each director shall, before entering upon the discharge of the director's duties, take and subscribe to the constitutional oath of office which shall be filed with the clerk of the district.

(d) The death of a director, a director's resignation or removal from the district, a director's becoming an officer or employee of any such municipality, or a director's disability shall vacate the office of the director. The board shall by resolution declare the office vacant and a certified copy of such resolution shall be filed forthwith by the clerk of the district with the clerk of each municipality included within the district. A successor for an expired or an unexpired term shall be elected or appointed by the officer or officers who elected or appointed the director whose term has terminated or whose office has been declared vacant, except in the case of the termination or vacancy of the term of a director appointed by the governor of Wisconsin. In such case the remaining directors shall elect the successor, and, if unable to do so, the governor shall appoint such successor as provided in sub. (4) (b).

(4a)Special voting power of directors.

(a) The first board of directors appointed for a district under this section shall have the power to cast votes in the following manner:

1. Each director representing a municipality which, at the time of the creation of the district has a metered record of water consumption for the year previous to the creation of the district, shall have one vote as such director and one additional vote for each million gallons of water or more than half thereof consumed by the municipality appointing said director, based on the yearly average daily consumption of water by such appointing municipality for the preceding calendar year.

2. All other directors representing municipalities which do not have a record of metered consumption of water for the year previous to the creation of the district shall have but one vote until they have established a yearly average of daily consumption.

(b) When such yearly average daily consumption is of record for one year in any municipality, the director thereof shall have one additional vote for each million gallons of water or more than half thereof consumed by the municipality appointing the director.

(c) A quorum for a meeting of the directors shall consist of a majority of the votes eligible to be cast at said meeting as hereinbefore provided.

(5)Expenses of directors. A director shall be entitled to no compensation for services but shall be entitled to be reimbursed for actual and necessary traveling and hotel expenses incurred whenever it shall be necessary for the director to travel outside of the district, and such reimbursement shall be paid at the end of each month upon an itemized statement therefor filed with the clerk and approved by the board.

(6)Acquisition; construction; operation; sale of service; use of streets. The district shall have power and authority to own, acquire, and, subject to the restrictions applying to a municipality under s. 196.50 (4), to construct any water utility or portion thereof, to operate, in whole or in part, in the district and to construct any addition or extension to any such utility. For such purpose the district is granted and shall have and exercise the right freely to use and occupy any public highway, street, way or place reasonably necessary to be used or occupied for the construction, operation or maintenance of such utility or any part thereof, subject, however, to the obligation of the district to replace said grounds in the same condition as they previously were in.

(7)Boundaries. Immediately upon the organization of the board of directors the clerk shall cause to be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of each county in which any part of said district is located, and shall file with the secretary of state, the department of natural resources, the governor and the clerk of each town, city or village, wholly or partly within the district, a certified copy of the boundaries of the district as set forth in the notice of election pursuant to sub. (3) or as thereafter amended. Thereafter, in any proceeding wherein the boundaries of the district are concerned, it shall be sufficient in describing said boundaries to refer to such record of such description.

(8)Purchases; sale; conveyances. In addition to all other powers the board of directors shall have the power and authority to purchase, lease, sell, convey and mortgage property of the district and to authorize and order all instruments, contracts, deeds or mortgages to be executed on behalf of the district by the chairperson of the board and the clerk of the district.

(9)General manager; powers. The general manager shall be the chief executive officer of the district. The general manager shall be chosen by the board of directors solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications and need not, when appointed, be a resident of the state. No member of the board shall, during the time for which that member is appointed or for 2 years thereafter, be chosen as a general manager. In case of the absence or disability of the manager, the board may designate some qualified person to perform the duties of the office during such absence or disability. The general manager shall have all the powers provided for in s. 198.16 (2) and such other power as the board may from time to time delegate to the general manager, but shall not be required to devote all of his or her time to the business of the district unless required to do so by the board. The general manager shall perform such other duties as the board may require of the general manager from time to time, and within 60 days after the end of each fiscal year cause to be published a financial report in the manner provided by the board showing the results of the operation for the preceding fiscal year and the financial status of the district on the last day thereof pursuant to an audit made by a certified public accountant employed by the board.

(10)Clerk, treasurer. The office of district clerk and district treasurer may be held by the same person.

(11)Examination and report of state department. The directors shall annually employ a certified public accountant to make an annual examination and report of the accounts and transactions of the district and of all contracts entered into by the district and make the recommendations and suggestions that seem proper and required for the efficient, economical and advantageous management and operation of the district.

(12)Use of income. In addition to other methods herein provided, the income of the district may be used as provided in s. 66.0811 (2).

(13)Distribution system standards in Milwaukee County. When any such district is established in any county having a population of 500,000 or more and containing a city of the 1st class, no municipality in such district shall construct any part of its distribution system except according to the standard of sizes and grades of materials as used by such city of the 1st class, or the standards of the American waterworks association and the department of natural resources.

History: 1971 c. 108 ss. 5, 6; 1971 c. 125 s. 523; 1971 c. 164; 1979 c. 323; 1985 a. 29; 1991 a. 316; 1993 a. 184; 1997 a. 254; 1999 a. 150 s. 672.

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