Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion Concerning Whether a Town may Assess a Fire Protection Special Charge in Absence of a Fire Call, and Whether it may Assess the Special Charge Against a County

Jan 2 2015
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion Concerning Whether a Town may Assess a Fire Protection Special Charge in Absence of a Fire Call, and Whether it may Assess the Special Charge Against a County

 

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion today to Clark County Corporation Counsel Jacob C. Brunette concerning whether a town can assess a fire protection special charge in the absence of an actual fire call, and whether it can assess a special charge against a county, a tax-exempt entity. Van Hollen concluded that, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 60.55(2)(b), a town may assess a fire protection special charge for making fire protection services generally available, and not based on the incidence of fire calls at a property. Van Hollen also concluded that the special charge is a fee, not a tax, because its primary purpose is to recover costs for fire protection services, supervision or regulation, not to obtain general revenue for the government. Therefore, Van Hollen concluded, the special charge may be assessed against the county. 

 

A copy of the Attorney General’s opinion is available at the following link:  Opinion

 

A copy of the opinion request is available at the following link:  Request

 

Formal and informal opinions issued by Attorney General Van Hollen are available here.