When a municipality recodifies its ordinances or adopts a new section of a code, does the municipality have to publish the entire code or section thereof in the newspaper?
Generally speaking, no. Under Wis. Stat. § 66.0103, a common council or village board can enact a code or a portion of a code of ordinances by publishing a single ordinance that incorporates the code or portion thereof by reference. If this method is used, a copy of the code or portion thereof must be available for inspection at least two weeks before the code is enacted. After the code or portion thereof is enacted, a copy of the code must be maintained and available for inspection in the clerk’s office.
Using § 66.0103 in situations where a municipality is adopting a new code of ordinances or adding new sections to an existing code will save a municipality a lot of money in publication fees. Although it does not appear that this procedure can be used in lieu of full publication whenever a municipality enacts a lengthy ordinance, Wis. Stat. §§ 61.50 and 62.11(4) authorize publication of a notice containing a summary of an ordinance, with information where the full text of the ordinance may be viewed, as an alternative to publishing an ordinance in its entirety. See Publications 126 for a sample notice.