The Wisconsin Towns Association (WTA) is a statewide, voluntary, non-profit and non-partisan association of member town and village governments in the State of Wisconsin controlled by its Board of Directors. WTA’s twin purposes are to (1) support local control of government and to (2) protect the interest of towns. In furtherance of those goals WTA provides three types of services for its members: legislative lobbying efforts, educational programs and legal information.
WTA’s membership consists of 1,257 towns and 20 villages and its services are made available to every elected or appointed officer of such member governments. Towns are explicitly authorized to “[a]ppropriate money to purchase membership in any association of town boards for the protection of town interests and improvement of town government.” Wis. Stat. § 60.23(14). WTA strives to adhere to the town government tradition of providing quality services at low cost.
WTA is most active at the grassroots level where its membership regularly holds self-organized County Unit meetings. The chairperson of each County Unit is selected by his or her peers and also serves as a voting representative of that County Unit at the annual Council Meeting. The Council votes biennially to choose twelve County Unit chairpersons to serve two-year terms on the WTA Board of Directors. WTA is organized as six districts within Wisconsin so that two members from each district make up the board. The board then selects its own officers.
WTA is headquartered in Shawano where it maintains its full-time staff that also works to support a monthly newsletter for all members, an annual series of District Meetings, an annual Convention, an annual Wisconsin Town Lawyers Conference and the creation of many other educational opportunities and supportive tasks to maintain the goal of keeping grassroots government strong and efficient in Wisconsin. In 2007 WTA celebrated its 60th year of service to town governments and by extension to their 1.7 million town residents.
The official WTA philosophy is "Lose Local Government, and You Will Lose America." The official WTA motto is "Let Local Government Work."
More about WTA
The Wisconsin Towns Association (WTA) is committed to protecting the interests of the state's 1,257 towns and improving town government through:
Legislative Lobbying Efforts: WTA routinely informs legislators and agency officials at the state and federal levels about the town perspective on proposed legislation and administrative rules impacting town government and town residents. This includes appearances before legislative committees and participation in statewide panels studying local government issues. See the WTA Policy Goals below for general statements on WTA positions on these issues of statewide significance.
Education: WTA creates a wide array of educational opportunities on pertinent topics for town officials. A three-day Convention is held annually in the fall of the year. A series of District Meetings are held across the state during the latter half of winter. Ad hoc daylong seminars are created as necessary or desired. At the grassroots level, regularly held County Unit Meetings typically feature guest speakers as arranged by the unit’s chairperson, to include WTA Staff and outside officials affecting town operations. WTA also co-sponsors educational opportunities with various other professional organizations, such as workshops and WisLine programs with the University of Wisconsin-Extension Local Government Center.
Legal Information: Any and all elected and appointed officers of a member government are welcome to contact the WTA office for general legal information relayed by our attorneys. However, this does not constitute an attorney-client relationship as WTA does not represent individual towns, and the town attorney is still an essential component of town operations. WTA’s staff attorneys also examine requests for WTA to join ongoing cases as an amicus curiae party.
Other Services: WTA sponsors a scholarship program; publishes a monthly newsletter, the Town Officers’ Handbook (2nd Ed.) and other informational materials for use by town officials; and sometimes collects information concerning municipal government operations, finance, land-use planning, intergovernmental relations and other topics of interest to members.