Both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature have approved changes to the existing administrative rule that details the process for awarding grants-in-aid to local governments under the Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP). Changes to the rule were necessitated with the elimination in July 2005 of the Land Information Board (WLIB) which up to that point had the authority to award grants. With the passage of the state budget in mid-2005, all WLIP administrative duties, including the determination of grant awards to counties, migrated to the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA).
The new rule, which became official on January 1st this year, retains the four grant categories that existed previously. Due to the limited availability of funds over the past 2-3 years, two of the grant categories, Contribution-Based, and Strategic Initiative have not been open to counties. The other two categories, Training and Education, and Base Budget have been available. The training and Education grant makes a maximum of $300 available to individual counties to participate in workshops and training courses. Provisions of the Base Budget grant have been changed in the revised rule such that any county retaining less than $50,000 in real estate recording fees shall be eligible for a base budget grant.
With declining real estate activity and diversion of WLIP funds to other uses, there is some question about sufficient money being available to fund Base Budget grants at the revised $50,000 level. A determination on that will not be made until late summer this year. Meanwhile, DOA predicts that the application period for Base Budget and Training grants will open on February 15th, 2007.