What does it mean if a police and fire commission has optional powers and are optional powers common?
Under Wis. Stat. sec. 62.13(6), electors can authorize optional powers for police and fire commissions. These optional powers authorize the commission to do the following:
• Organize and supervise the police and fire departments and prescribe rules for their control and management.
• Contract for and purchase all necessary apparatus and supplies, except for the erection and control of the police and fire station buildings.
• Audit all bills, claims and expenses of the fire and police departments before they are paid by the municipal treasurer?
Once the electors have granted optional powers, that authority can only be taken away by the electors at a referendum. Optional powers are not common. The PFCs in the following 15 communities have been granted optional powers:
Beaver Dam, Berlin, Chetek, Hales Corners, Ladysmith, Lake Geneva, Marshfield, Mauston, New Lisbon, New London, Oconto, Port Washington, Stevens Point, Waupaca, West Allis, (Shawano electors repealed the optional powers granted to that city’s PFC in an April 1999 referendum).