Wisconsin Geospatial News

Land Information Board resumes activity

The Wisconsin Land Information Board last met on February 4 in Madison. This was the first face-to-face meeting of the WLIB in 10 months. Part of the meeting was held jointly with the Wisconsin Land Council. The board’s next meeting has not been scheduled.

New board elects officers
The February 4 meeting was the first for many of the members including those recently appointed by Governor Doyle (see our story in a previous issue). In addition to becoming acquainted with one another, the board carried out several items of business.

In the first election to be held in two years, Ted Koch (State Cartographer) was elected to a fifth consecutive term as chair. Koch has been a board member since 1991. Nick Neher (rep. from the Wis. Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection) was elected vice chair, and Mike Hasslinger (Register of Deeds for Waukesha County) was elected secretary. Neher, who heads the Agriculture Resource Management Division within DATCP has been the department’s representative to the board for more than 10 years. Hasslinger is also a long-time member, having first been appointed to the board shortly after it was formed in 1989.

Program revenues stay strong
Since the board has so many new members, the April 4 meeting was primarily devoted to reviewing the status of many board issues including grant programs, revenue collection, county modernization plans, and administrative support.

Through the first half of the state’s current fiscal year, the board has received more funds from the counties than it did during the comparable period a year ago which was a record year for land transaction recording fee income. However, the amounts received during the months October-December dropped significantly from a year before. Overall, it appears the board will take in approximately $4 million for the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2004.

Fiscal restraints
Despite the robust revenues, the board will not have further leeway to allocate any of these funds toward local grants-in-aid due to the current state budget’s language directing $2 million of this money to be available for developing local comprehensive land use plans, and over $1 million to be transferred to the state’s general fund. This pattern is expected to continue into the following fiscal year.

In a brief conference-call meeting in October the WLIB did allocate funds for base-budget (to 17 counties totaling $211,000) and education/training grants ($300 per county).

Getting back on track
The board briefly discussed the status of the current County Land Information Plans, noting that generally all plans on file with the board have reached their 5-year effective limit. During 2004 the board will be revising the planning instructions, and requesting all counties to prepare an updated plan useful for the next five years.

Prior to its meeting, the board met jointly with the Wisconsin Land Council to review the legislative charge of each organization as a prelude to preparing a joint report on both organizations due to be delivered to the governor and legislature this September.