What is public notice? What is news media notice? Wis. Stat. 19.84 outlines the various ways a public body — such as a village or town board — needs to provide proper notice of its meetings. Read more below.

Below will endeavor to contain the most recent prior or upcoming meeting of each area board. Clerks or chief presiding officers usually send out the notices on average between one week and 24 hours before the meetings — obviously the more notice the better. The below will not contain notices for committees and subunits, or minutes — however links to governmental body websites where many of those can be found are included. Many items are discussed in committees and those meetings are often the best time to provide public input. Some items on subunits’ agendas — like a plan commission or public safety committee — may not need approval by a village or town board, so it’s important to check governmental websites regularly. Legal notices will also not appear here, a link to those is below.




(NOT currently IN COMPLIANCE WITH WIS. STAT. § 19.84(1)(B) NEWS MEDIA NOTICE — Last RECEIVED Notice June 2023)


DESPITE repeated Wis. Stat. § 19.84(1)(b) news media requestS for notice of all meetings of the town of franklin governmental body and its subunits, Valley Sentinel has RECEIVED no notice of any meeting from October 2020 on, potentially opening the board and its members up to Wis. Stats. § 19.96 & 19.97 forfeitures and voiding of action taken.
AGENDA/MEETING NOTICE CANNOT BE FOUND ONLINE, which is fine if noticed otherwise properly.

UPDATE: As of June 2023, Valley Sentinel has RECEIVED meeting notices. However, the June 8, 2023 meeting notice was RECEIVED with less than 10 hours notice. The agenda appeared to be Amended at the time as well, seemingly giving the public 10 hours notice. The Clerk did not provide any just cause explanation for the delay and falsely asserted the statutory requirement had been met.

TOWN OF Ridgeway BoarD of Supervisors
(Not in compliance with Wis. Stat. § 19.84(1)(b) news media notice — Valley Sentinel has never RECEIVED news media notice of meetings or a response from the clerk. We have signed up for notices/updates on their website and will update)

What is public notice? What is news media notice? Wis. Stat. 19.84 outlines the various ways a public body — such as a village or town board — needs to provide proper notice of its meetings.
Best practice is to post those notices in a mix of ways most likely to apprise residents and those interested, including posting in designated places or online. But this does not discharge the independent duty to inform the media that has requested notice.
Other requirements include at least 24 hours notice, generally, and requirements that the subject matter of the notice — usually in the form of the agenda — is reasonably likely to apprise members of the public and the news media of what action the public body will be taking.

Valley Sentinel has submitted a Wis. Stat. § 19.84(1)(b) news media request for notice of all meetings of the below governmental bodies and their subunits. This notice to Valley Sentinel as news media that has requested is required for meetings to be considered properly noticed. When news media request notice under Wis. Stat. 19.84(1)(b) it is separate from the notice given to the public, but equally as necessary. Further, Wis. Stats. § 19.96 & 19.97 prescribe the forfeitures possible when notice isn’t proper and state any action taken at a meeting of a governmental body held in violation is potentially voidable.

Public notice is often confused with paid legal notices, which are required by statute for certain meetings and hearings, foreclosures, bids and other notices. You can find a link to those above in local newspapers at the bottom of the cork board. What Valley Sentinel has requested are emails from the clerks of local public bodies with notice of upcoming meetings and their agenda items. These meetings may additionally need legal notice, but that’s a sidebar. 

Why is this important? The legislature thought that informing the press was independently important because the press can play a vital role, not just transmitting the notice to the people, but also looking deeper, investigating, commenting, bringing out different perspectives and connections. We believe that as well. This is important to us because if we’re not getting notice as a newspaper it’s likely you’re not getting notice either.

Recent studies have shown civic engagement and strong local journalism directly correlate to a number of local government metrics like local government bond rates, including rates to fund government infrastructure projects. For example, where robust local journalism disappears or is lax, local government borrowing costs increase because less information is publicly available, and local officials are no longer monitored as closely, reducing the quality of governance. Simply put, the financial sector views an area with low civic engagement and lax or nonexistent local journalistic oversight as a risky investment. Without open government it becomes increasingly hard for us to do our public service as the fourth estate.

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