Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a Fire/Road Number Sign?

To obtain a sign, contact Ole Yttri, Clerk at (608)625-2601.

How do I get a Burning Permit?

Contact John Young, Chairman 608-625-2142

How do I get a Building Permit?

How do I get a Building Permit? Building Permits may be obtained from Town of Webster Clerk, Ole Yttri by calling (608) 625-2601. The cost of a building permit for a single-family dwelling is $50. Under the new state-mandated Uniform Dwelling Code (UDL), new single-family houses and certain additions to houses also need to be inspected. The Town of Webster has contracted for these inspections to be made by Wayne Haugrud of La Farge, who can be reached at (608) 625-2661.

How do I obtain a Driveway Permit Application? 

To obtain a Driveway Permit Application, contact Ole Yttri, Clerk at (608)625-2601 or E-mail

What items can be recycled in the Town of Webster?

Residents and landowners in the Town of Webster can bring items to be recycled on Wednesday 3-6 PM and Saturdays from 9 AM until 3 PM to the town recycling center located at the Town Hall on Hwy 82 3 miles west of La Farge. Working cooperatively with the Vernon County Recycling Center, the Town of Webster offers the following recycling services: - Glass - Bottles and Jars ONLY! Rinse thoroughly, remove caps and rings, separate by colors (green, brown, clear). No window glass! - Tin Cans - Rinse, remove labels, flatten. - Plastics - Containers ONLY! Rinse, remove caps. We can only recycle containers marked #1 or #2 on the bottom. - Newspapers - Bundle and tie with a heavy string. - Corrugated cardboard ONLY! - Clean and flatten. - Magazines - Bundle and tie with a heavy string. Other garbage should be placed in the dumpster. Big ticket items like appliances, tires, batteries, oil, and metal also can be recycled twice a year, in the Spring and Fall Clean-Up day but there is a fee payment required.

How does the town determine the width of a particular road?

If the highway was acquired by deed, the width of the road should be indicated on the deed. The same is true if the road was acquired by acceptance of a plat. The width should be indicated on the deed or plat filed with the register of deeds. If the town laid out the road by issuing a highway order, the width should have been specified in the order. If no width was specified, there is a presumption that the width is 66 feet, s.82.18. If the road was acquired by having worked it 10 years or more, the width is also presumed to be 66 feet, s.82.31 (2), Wis. Stat. Keep in mind that the presumption of a 4 rod road can be overcome by evidence of an ancient fence line, trees going up to edge of the road, natural barriers such as bluffs, etc. If the facts concerning the width are in dispute, litigation may have to be used to resolve the issue or the town might consider purchasing additional right of way by deed or entertaining a petition to widen the road and pay damages under ss.82.10-14, Wis. Stat.

What process can the town use to force a property owner to remove a hazardous object from the highway right of way?

Highway Encroachments What process can the town use to force a property owner to remove a hazardous object from the highway right of way? If an occupant or landowner places an object in the highway right of way that poses a hazard to users of the highway, the town should seek removal of the object or the town may be held liable for damage or injuries that may occur if the object is struck. Hazardous objects may include a cement planter, stone retaining wall, junk car, bricked in mail box, etc. Essentially, the town should assess whether the item is likely to cause unnecessary harm to a vehicle that leaves the traveled portion of the highway and runs into it. If the town becomes aware of such an item, the first course of action would be for the town board to send a notice to the property owner or occupant seeking removal of the item pursuant to s.86.04. A sample notice is available in the Town Law Forms book. The notice provides the property owner or occupant with 30 days to remove the object. If the item is not removed within 30 days and he or she does not deny the encroachment, a forfeiture of $1 per day will begin to accrue. The town may then bring an action in circuit court to recover the penalty. If the town wins, a judgment ordering the occupant or owner to remove the item within a fixed period of time will be issued. If the owner or occupant fails to obey the order, the town may then remove the encroachment and recover the costs from the defendant. If the occupant or owner denies the encroachment in writing, the town may commence an action to remove the encroachment in the circuit court in the county where the property is located.

Work on Private Roads

May towns enter into contracts to build, grade, surface, and/or gravel private roads and driveways? Similarly, may counties contract with municipalities to do such work? There is no statutory authority that allows a town or county to contract to perform roadwork on private roads or driveways. In Heimerl, et al. v.Ozaukee County, et al., 256 Wis. 151, 40 N.W.2d 564, (1949), the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a statute authorizing such work was invalid. The court noted that such a statute would result in the appropriation and expenditure of public funds for a private purpose without any direct advantage accruing to the public and would authorize municipalities to engage in private business. Essentially, the court held that the statute was unconstitutional because it allowed towns to compete with private road builders and took away 'the [road builder's] opportunity for a livelihood or a right to work'. Since Heimerl was decided in 1949,there has been no authority for towns or other municipalities to enter into contracts for work on private roads. There are a few exceptions worthy of note: 1) Towns and other municipalities may contract to remove snow from private roads and driveways. See Wis. Stat. s.86.105. However, the plowing of private parking lots is unauthorized. 67 Atty. Gen. 304. Towns that choose to provide plowing services on private roads should ensure that the contracts are covering their actual costs. For example, a town should not charge each homeowner a flat rate of $50 per winter. Such a figure does not take into consideration the number of snowstorms or the varying lengths of driveways. Instead, consider charging per hour or per foot. Under such a system, the resident's pay for their fair share of the plowing and the town will not lose money. Remember that a town may legally pick and choose the driveways or private roads that it is willing to plow. However, the board's decisions must be defendable and cannot be arbitrary or capricious. For example, the town might validly refuse to plow a drive that is so narrow that the plow cannot turn around without be coming damaged [or without damaging the homeowner's property]. On the other hand, the town would likely face a legal challenge if it chose to plow church driveways but refused to plow tavern driveways.

Weight Limits

How does a town go about placing weight limits on a town road? Towns have the authority to impose special or seasonal weight limits under s.349.16, Wis. Stat. If weight limits are desired, the town board should pass an ordinance specifying which roads shall have weight limits and whether the limits are seasonal or special. The town board should also specify in the ordinance which person is responsible for properly signing the roads and determining when the signs should be put up or taken down. Once the weight limits are in place, the town may issue permits to operators needing to use the road. The permit may place limitations on the user. For example, the town might limit the hours of use, number of trips, etc. The town may also require that the hauler put money in escrow or provide a bond to cover any damage caused by the hauler. Some towns videotape the road prior to use and after use as a way of providing evidence of damage by the hauler. In 2001, the classes 'B' weight limitation statute, s.348.16, was amended. An exception was added for "any motor vehicle whose operation is pickup or delivery, including operation for the purpose of moving or delivering supplies or commodities to or from any place of business or residence that has an entrance on a class 'B' highway". The exception essentially says that such vehicles may pick up or deliver on a class 'B' highway without complying with the gross weight limitations. Due to this exception, it is generally advisable for a town to use seasonal or special weight limitations rather than class 'B' weight limitations. The only exception to the seasonal or special weight limitation is for septic/holding tank haulers that, because of health concerns, must remove material from a holding tank within 24 hours of being notified, s.349.16 (3). Within 72 hours after operating the vehicle that transported material from a holding tank, the owner or operator of the vehicle must notify the authority in charge of maintenance over the highway.

If the town is planning a public works project, when are we required to put it out on bids?

The procedure that you must use to hire a contractor depends on the estimated cost of the project. See s.60.47, Wis. Stat. For contracts less than $5000, there is no bid requirement. The town board can simply vote on whom to hire at a properly posted town board meeting. For contracts between $5000-$15,000, the statutes require that the town give a Class I notice prior to entering into the contract (A Class I notice is the one newspaper insertion at least a week before the act or event).There is no requirements that the contract be awarded to the lowest bidder since no bids are actually required. The notice would say something like: "The Town of Webster will be entering into a contract for the repair of the town hall roof at a cost not to exceed $12,000". One week after the notice appears in the paper, the town board may sign a contract with whomever they like for the work. For contracts over $15,000, the town must publish a Class II bid notice with bid specs.(a Class II notice means two insertions in the newspaper: the first notice should appear at least two weeks prior to the bid deadline/opening, the second notice should appear at least one week prior). The bid must be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Under s.60.47(1)(b) Wis. Stat., a 'responsible bidder' is defined as a person who, in the judgment of the town board, is financially responsible and has the capacity and competence to faithfully and responsibly comply with the terms of the public contract. The governing body may consider the contractor's recent past performance on previous contracts in determining whether the bidder is 'responsible'.

Are there any exceptions to the general bidding rules?

Yes there are a few exceptions to the general public bidding law. First, contracts with governmental entities are not required to be put out on bids. See s.60.47(4), Wis. Stats. This means that if you hire the county to do a regular road project, there is no bid requirement. However, all Town Road Improvement Program (TRIP) projects, which are funded in part by the state, must be let by contract using competitive bidding procedures even though the project may be under$15,000 in total estimated cost. There is also an exception to the bid requirement for emergencies. See statute 60.47(5) Wis. Stats. Under that statute, the governing body may avoid bidding by adopting a resolution that there is an emergency that endangers the public health or welfare of the town. This exception is typically used when a bridge or road is washed out. Finally, there is an exception for projects that will use donated materials or labor.

Does the town have to solicit bids if it wants to hire a new waste hauling service?

No a town is not required to solicit bids for services such as assessing, garbage collection, lawn mowing, attorney services, architectural services, etc. It is up to the town board to decide how to ensure that the town receives the best service for the lowest prices. Ultimately, the town board must vote on whom to hire at a properly noticed town board meeting.

The town wants to buy a new truck and get rid of the old truck. Is there a requirement the town put either the purchase of the new truck or the sale of the old truck out on bids?

No. First the public bidding law, s.60.47 of the state statutes, only applies to the public contracts and the furnishing of supplies or materials. A 'public contract' means the construction, execution, repair, remodeling, or improvement of any public works project or building. The phrase 'materials or supplies' refers to items that are consumable such as gasoline, gravel, lumber, or salt. Equipment, such as a truck, grader, or storage tank is not considered a material or supply, As a result, the purchase of machinery or equipment does not have to be put out on bids. NOTE: The town may spend up to $5,000 times the number of miles of road each year on highway expenditures without elector approval. See s.82.03(2), Wis. Stat. This figure includes highway equipment. As a result, elector approval may be needed for the purchase of a piece of highway equipment if the purchase will put the town over the amount it may spend each year with out elector approval. The electors would need to approval the additional expenditure at a special town meeting of the electors. Secondly, there is no bid requirement for the disposal of town personal property. See s.60.10(2)(g), Wis. Stat. This means that the town is not required to get elector approval before it may dispose of used equipment, sell timber cut from the town, sell scrap from a town shed that has been torn down, etc. Finally, while there is typically no need for bids or elector approval to buy or sell a piece of equipment, town boards do need to comply with basic board procedures, This means that the decision to buy or sell a piece of equipment must be decided and voted on at a properly noticed board meeting. A single board member does not have the authority to decide on his or her own to purchase or sell equipment on behalf of the town.

If a town road has trees on or next to the road right of way, and it’s branches are blocking line of sight can they be cut?  If the trees are trees are in the right of way and may be struck by a vehicle if they left the road way, does the town board have the right to remove trees, branches and other and other shrubs or demand that they be removed?

Yes, the town board has the right to remove any vegetation that may be hazardous to travelers. Wis Stat. 66.1037 states in part that "the authority (town board) shall remove, cut, trim, or consent to the removing, cutting, trimming of any tree, shrub, or vegetation in order to provide safety to users of the highway." It is the town's duty to provide safe roads; therefore, if it is found that vegetation creates hazardous conditions, it must be removed.

A town resident has put up a gate across his driveway; however the gate was placed in the town’s right of way. He claims that because the gate in not on the traveled portion of the road, that he is allowed to keep it where it is? Is this correct?

No, this is not correct. The gate is considered an 'encroachment', and is hazardous for the same reasons that vegetation can be hazardous on town roads. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 86.04, the town board can order the resident to remove the encroachment. The statute states, in part, that "if any highway right-of-way shall be encroached upon, under or over by any fence, stand, building or any other structure of object"..the town board, may order the occupant or owner to remove the encroachment beyond the limits of the highway within 30days. If the occupant does not remove the encroachment after 30 days the town board may commence a court action to remove it.

When do we have to be compliant with the Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan?

The Sec. 66.1001 says that effective January 1 2010,that towns, villages, cities, and counties that have zoning ordinances, land division/subdivision ordinances, or official maps must have a comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan must be consistent with the zoning ordinance, land division/subdivision ordinance, or official map. Nothing in the law requires that the town plan must be approved by the state as being a 'good or bad' plan. That is a local community decision. Wisconsin's comprehensive plan is not a top down planning law as in other states such as Oregon and Florida. Local communities have the option to adopt the plans or not. If your town does not have town zoning, or a town land division/subdivision ordinance, or a town official map, there is no requirement to adopt a comprehensive plan. If you have such ordinances or an official map you may adopt a comprehensive plan of your own without state approval. From text by Richard Stadelman WTA Report June issue