How and where can I dispose of prescription drugs?
We encourage a safe disposal of drugs and offer many ways for Wauwatosa residents to participate:
1) A permanent drop box is available at the Wauwatosa Police Department for all expired and unused prescription and over the counter medications. No needles/sharps, household chemicals, hygiene items, biohazard material are accepted. You must be a Wauwatosa resident and valid identification is required.
Monday - Friday: 7 am - 11 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 3 pm - 11 pm
2) We host medication collection events at City Hall, typically in April and September. For details on any upcoming medication collection events, call (414) 479-8936, or check our events calendar.
How early can I claim a spot on North Avenue to watch the parade?
Our Tosa parade is one of the biggest parades in the state, and our goal is to ensure safety and fun for all attendees. You can start to place your chairs at 6 am on the day of the parade. We ask that the responsible person claiming your spot is at least 12 years old. If there are items placed out prior to 6 am, we may collect these items.
Do rats carry any diseases?
The rats that live in Wauwatosa are Norway rats. They do not carry Hantavirus and don’t typically spread diseases to humans. However, while rat bites are extremely rare, you should consult your doctor if you are bitten by a rat. If you find a dead rat in your yard, use gloves or a plastic bag to pick it up and throw it away. Some rats carry parasites similar to fleas. While these can be a nuisance, they are not harmful to humans.
How can tenants help prevent rodent problems?
It is the occupant's responsibility to use garbage receptacles properly, to keep receptacles covered at all times, and to notify the property owner if the receptacle becomes cracked, broken, or loses its cover. It is the occupant’s responsibility to limit food sources otherwise meant for recreational animal watching (bird and squirrel feeding).
What does the City of Wauwatosa do about rats?
The City of Wauwatosa responds to complaints about rats and can provide information about rodent control and enforcement according to the Wauwatosa ordinance. We do not offer baiting or elimination services but can refer you to pest control companies. To request more information or enforcement, please contact us by calling 414-479-8936.
You can report illegal dumping of garbage and solid waste on private property to the Wauwatosa Department of Property Maintenance at (414) 479-8981.
How can I prevent rats from becoming a problem on my property?
To control rats, you must remove everything they need to survive:
Food. Eliminate all food sources.
Bag garbage and put in tightly covered containers.
Store pet food and bird seed in a metal container and off the ground.
Monitor compost piles.
Water. Remove any sources of standing water.
Shelter. Prevent opportunities for rats to burrow.
Keep plants and bushes trimmed and neat.
Cover exposed dirt with gravel.
Seal cracks or holes in your home and garage.
Don't allow debris to accumulate on your property.
I saw a rat in my home/yard. What should I do?
The best way to get rid of rats on your property is with trapping and/or baiting the rats. If you notice any evidence of rodent activity on your property, contact a professional exterminator to properly eradicate the issue. Exterminators can be found online or in your local phone book.
How do I know if I have rats on my property?
Keep an eye out for burrows, droppings, holes, and/or runways.
Burrows are oval shaped holes in dirt or concrete from one to four inches wide, with smooth edges. They can be found under bushes and plants and along foundations or walls.
Droppings are often found close to garbage.If they are moist and dark it is a sign that rats are active in the area.
Holes and gnaw marks might be seen on plastic garbage cans or the bottom of garage doors.
Runways are created by rats running back and forth along the same path. Rats can leave dark, greasy track marks on grass or concrete.
I noticed mulch and dirt by Drop Off Center. Is there a charge to purchase?
The mulch and dirt at the Drop Off Center is free to Wauwatosa residents. First come, first serve. You can pick it up anytime Monday-Saturday 7:30 am – 4:00pm.
Can moving pods/containers be placed curbside on the street?
Yes – A “Street Occupancy Permit” is required/approved prior to placement of a Storage P.O.D., dumpster, etc.
The fee is $75 (check payable to “City of Wauwatosa”, cash or credit card).
Two flashing barricades are required for night-time vision. Barricade Flashing Service (414) 764-1790 can provide if need be.
Permit is only valid for 7 consecutive days and cannot be renewed.
You can only place in regular parking areas.
To obtain permit please call the Engineering Department at (414) 479-8900. A staff member will fill out the permit, and you can pick it up from City Hall.
I'm concerned about parking regulations on my street. What can I do?
We are committed to providing fair and balanced parking solutions throughout the City. Various parking solutions have been implemented across the City:
Lead is a common, naturally occurring metal found throughout the environment. Lead is not found in Lake Michigan surface water or in our source of supply water treated by Milwaukee Water Works. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of corrosion or wearing away of materials in the water distribution system and household plumbing that contain lead. Despite concerns about drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that “the greatest exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips or dust.”
How do I know if my property has a lead water supply line?
If your property was built before 1953, your water service lateral was originally installed using lead piping materials. It is possible that some of the property’s internal plumbing and fixtures also contain lead. Even copper piping may have lead solder joints. You may call the Wauwatosa Water Utility business office at (414) 479-8963 to find out more information about your service line pipe material.
Is exposure to lead a health concern?
Please contact the City of Wauwatosa Health Department Referral Nurse Line at (414) 479-8939.
What is the Wauwatosa Water Utility doing to replace lead services?
As a standard practice with our water main replacement projects the Wauwatosa Water Utility replaces old lead water service laterals with new HDPE plastic materials from the water main to the curb stop.
What can I do to reduce lead in my tap water?
If you’re concerned about lead in your drinking water, you can take several steps to limit possible exposure.
Flush your tap water. Flushing the tap is particularly important when the faucet has been unused for more than a few hours. It takes time for lead to leach into water, so the first water drawn from the tap in the morning or after a long period of non-use may contain higher levels of lead. Flushing clears standing water from your plumbing and home service line to ensure you are getting drinking water from the water main, where lead is rarely present. Let the cold water run from the tap until it is noticeably colder (this may take up to two minutes or more) before using it for cooking or drinking.
Remember, you must flush EACH drinking water faucet after long periods of non-use for this strategy to be effective.
CONSERVATION TIP: Use flushed water for non-potable purposes such as watering plants or washing dishes. You can also store water from a tap that has been flushed in the refrigerator for later use.
Use only cold water for cooking or drinking. Lead leaches more easily into hot water than cold water.
Boiling water DOES NOT remove lead.
Remove faucet strainers and rinse them to remove any debris. This can be done periodically to remove accumulated debris as well.
Are there filters certified to reduce lead?
Water filters used for reducing lead in drinking water must be certified for lead reduction in accordance with NSF/ANSI Standard 53 – Drinking Water Treatment Unit Standard for Health Effects.
Types of water filters.
Pour-through pitcher/carafe: Water drips through a filter into a water pitcher using gravity.
Faucet mount: Mounts on kitchen faucet. Uses diverter to direct water through a filter.
Counter-top connected to sink faucet: Connects to existing sink faucet through a hose/tubing.
Plumbed-in to separate tap or to kitchen sink: Installs under a sink; filtered water is usually dispensed through a separate faucet directly to the kitchen sink.
Refrigerator filter: Installed in your refrigerator and typically dispensed through the refrigerator door.
How can I test for lead in my water?
You can’t see, smell or taste lead in your water. Testing at the tap is the only way to measure the lead levels in your home or workplace. If you choose to have your tap water tested at a cost of around $30, be sure to use a private laboratory properly certified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
400 Bay View Rd. Suite 1
Mukwonago, WI 53149
Phone: (262) 539-2316
Northern Lakes Services, Inc.
2420 N Grandview Blvd.
Waukesha, WI 53188
Phone: (262) 547-3406
State Lab of Hygiene
2601 Agriculture Drive
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: (800) 442-4618
Where can I get more information about lead and water?
Contact the following resources for more information about lead and water:
You can hold a rummage sale a maximum of three times a year for a maximum duration of three days per occurrence. Read the full ordinance.
Can I park my car on the street overnight?
Per City Ordinance Chapter 11.32.290, you cannot park on a city street between 3:00 am and 6:00 am. This includes holidays and weekends.
You can obtain Overnight Parking Permission by calling (414) 471-8430 prior to 3:00 am.
Overnight Parking Permission is limited to:
vehicles affected by a construction project which makes off street parking impossible
fifteen (15) nights per vehicle, per year
During the time of a declared Snow Emergency, you may not park on any street. You will not receive overnight parking permission and the police department will declare all existing parking permissions null and void.
The Records Division receives requests Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 3:00 pm. Requests may be made by:
Phone: (414) 471-8430
Fax: (414) 471-8447
Please note that it may take up to ten (10) business days to receive a response to an open records request.
Does the Wauwatosa Police Department offer fingerprinting services?
Our Police Department provides electronically scanned fingerprint services for background checks for employment or adoption purposes only. Hours for fingerprinting are Tuesday through Thursday, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm by appointment. Printing is done in the police department booking room and there may be instances where you will not be permitted in this room. If so, you may be delayed or have to be rescheduled.
Fee: $15 per card for Wauwatosa residents; $25 per card for non-Wauwatosa residents. To schedule an appointment contact the department at (414) 471-8430. A valid photo ID is required.
If your employer requires INK prints, contact the Milwaukee County Criminal Justice Facility at 949 N 9th Street at (414) 226-7085.
If I have a minor car crash, should I still call the police?
It is best to report all crashes to the police, even minor ones. If the damage is over $1,000, or if anyone is injured, a state report must be filed. Even in the case of minor crashes, calling the police allows documentation of driver information for insurance purposes.
If you wait a significant amount of time before reporting your crash to the police, you may be directed to file a self-report through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website: WI DOT Crash Reporting
What should I do with old or expired medications in my home?
The Wauwatosa Police Department, in coordination with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, has undertaken a program to safely, securely, and environmentally collect and dispose of old or expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications. Learn more about the Medicine Collection Program.
If I lock my keys in my car, can the Police Department help me?
The Wauwatosa Police Department only performs auto lockouts in emergencies, such as when an infant is locked in the car.
How do I find out about registered sex offenders in my community?
In 1997, the State of Wisconsin enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Community Notifiction Law. This law was created to monitor and track people convicted of sex crimes and to provide access to this information for police, victims and the general public.
An Internet Web site is maintained by the state Department of Corrections. Visitors to the site can identify offenders with searches by name or ZIP code.
Click here for the website: WI Sex Offender Registry
What should I do if my pet runs away?
You may call the Wauwatosa Police Department's non-emergency phone number, (414) 471-8430, to notify us of a pet you have lost or found. We keep a logbook of missing pets.
If you lose or find a pet, also call The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. Their non-emergency phone number is (414) 649-8640. Their emergency phone number is (414) 274-9275. MADACC is responsible for housing stray pets in the Milwaukee area. They are located at 3839 W. Burnham St. in West Milwaukee. MADACC also has a website, which features photos of pets they are holding. Click here for their website: MADACC
Are Wauwatosa Police officers required to be Wauwatosa residents?
No, there is no residency requirement for Wauwatosa Police officers.
How many officers and support staff are on the Police Department?
The Police Department has an authorized strength of 92 sworn officers and employs approximately 30 non-sworn support staff members.
Are there always officers on patrol?
Yes. The Wauwatosa Police Department patrols 24 hours per day, every day.
What are the hours and phone numbers for the Police Department?
In Case of Emergency dial 911. The non-emergency phone is (414) 471-8430.
The Front Desk serving the general public is open Monday - Friday, excluding holidays, from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm.
The Front Desk is open Saturday's, Sunday's, and holidays from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
The Records Division is open Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Where is the Wauwatosa Police Department located?
The Wauwatosa Police Department is located at 1700 N. 116 St., Wauwatosa, WI 53226: On N. 116 St. between W. North Av. and Watertown Plank Rd.
What do you accept at the Drop Off Center?
We can accept a range of items: clean fill, such as bricks, dirt, and sod; garbage including furniture and carpeting; recyclable items like appliances and tires; and yard waste.
How do I change my name or address on my tax bill?
Complete a Change of Address Form at the City Assessor’s office. If you make your change before November 15 it will be effective on the tax bills that are mailed out in December. If you make it after that date, it will be effective the following year.
Where is the night deposit located?
The night deposit is located on the southwest end of city hall near the employee entrance.
What are the credits that are applied to my tax bill?
There are three credits available:
school tax levy credit
first dollar credit
School Tax Levy Credit
This credit direct relief to taxpayers by reducing the amount owed on their property tax bills. The school levies credit is allocated to municipalities based on their share of statewide school levies during the previous three years. Municipalities allocate the credit to individual taxpayers in proportion to the taxpayer's share of the municipality's total assessed value.
First Dollar Credit
This credit is paid to the owner of any real estate parcel on which at least one improvement owned by the land owner is located. The credit equals the school property tax on a certain amount of the value of the improvements. The credit value is calculated every year by the Department of Revenue. If the value of the parcel exceeds the credit value, a full credit is paid. If the value of the parcel is less than the credit value, the credit is paid on the actual value of the parcel.
This credit provides direct property tax relief to homeowners as a credit on their property tax bills.
How can I claim the lottery credit?
You must establish ownership and residence of a property as of January 1 of the tax year. If you purchase a home after January 1, you must attest to the best of your knowledge that the property was the primary residence of the previous owner(s).
To receive the lottery credit, an eligible property owner must file an application with our Treasurer’s Office by January 31 following the issuance of the person’s property tax bill. If you miss this date and are eligible for the credit, you may file a late claim application with the Department of Revenue by October 1.
Once you receive the lottery credit on your tax bill it will be issued each year and you do not need to reapply for it. If you become ineligible for the lottery credit, you need to fill out a lottery and gaming credit removal request. Lottery Credit Form
What is the assessed value of my property?
The assessed value of a property is the dollar amount assigned to taxable real (by parcel) and personal (by owner) property by the assessor for the purpose of taxation. The assessed value for a property is shown on the yearly tax bill.
Why is the Assessed Value different from the Fair Market Value?
The assessment was established at the last valuation of the property by the Assessor's Office. The estimated fair market value is calculated by taking the assessment and dividing it by the city wide assessment ratio. This ratio is determined by the Department of Revenue and the same ratio shows up on all tax bills within Wauwatosa. The estimated fair market value is displayed on the tax bill so property owners can see if their assessment is in line with the overall market; however, it is important to note that this value is just an estimate.
Where can I pay a delinquent tax bill?
The City of Wauwatosa collects taxes from December through July 31st each year. For example, for 2016 tax bills, the collection period for the City of Wauwatosa is December 2016 to July 31, 2017. If a tax bill becomes delinquent prior to July 31st it is paid to the City of Wauwatosa Treasurer’s Office. After July 31st, delinquent taxes should be paid to the Milwaukee County Treasurer, 901 N. 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233. The phone number for the Milwaukee County Treasurer is (414) 278-4033.
How can I change my name or address on my water bill?
Contact the Water Utility Business office at (414) 479-8963.
What information do you need from me to license my pet?
Owner address information
Verification of current rabies immunization--if rabies vaccination is not current, you must have your pet vaccinated by your veterinarian and provide a current rabies certificate.
Payment of licensing fee
Where to purchase:
Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission office located at 3839 W Burnham St., West Milwaukee, WI 53215.
You may apply for licenses online through the MADACC website (www.madacc.com)
Mail in a Pet License Application to MADACC. The City of Wauwatosa does not issue licenses through mail.
For more information, please contact the treasurer's office at (414) 479-8960.
Do I need to license my cat if it only stays indoors?
Is my water safe to drink?
Yes. The Wauwatosa Water Utility is a wholesale customer of the Milwaukee Water Works. Milwaukee treats Lake Michigan water by passing it through multiple treatment process barriers that remove illness causing microorganisms and contaminants. The water is initially disinfected with ozone gas, a highly reactive gas that destroys microorganisms, controls taste and odor, and reduces byproducts from chlorine disinfection. Coagulation, settling, and filtration remove additional particles. A final disinfection ensures safe, high quality drinking water throughout the distribution system and at your faucets.
How do you know how much water I use in my home?
A water meter measures the amount of water you use. We read the meter quarterly.
Can a utility forgive or forego a late payment charge?
A utility cannot waive a properly applied late payment charge that has been authorized by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission under Wis. Adm. Code s. PSC 185.33 (9) or (10).
My drinking water looks cloudy when it comes out of my faucet and then it clears up. Why is that?
The cloudy water could be caused by tiny air bubbles in the water, similar to the gas bubbles in beer and carbonated soft drinks. After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone. This type of cloudiness occurs more often in the winter, when the drinking water is cold.
How do I find out which positions are available and how do I apply for a job?
We only accept applications for open positions. Available positions are posted on our website.
Can I get legal advice from the City Attorney?
Only on issues pertaining to City matters, procedures, & City property. Advice cannot be given on personal matters, neighbor and lot line disputes, Wills, and civil matters.
How do I find the Wauwatosa Municipal Code online?
What is the procedure for discussing citations with the City Attorney before I go to municipal court?
If you want to discuss your citation with the City Attorney, come to Committee Room 2, located beside the Municipal Courtroom, at 5:00 pm on your scheduled court date Upon arrival, sign in, and you will be called to meet with the Special Assistant City Attorney. Municipal Court Procedures
How can I stop vendors from leaving flyers and papers at my mailbox or doorway?
We have an ordinance prohibiting publishers from distributing such publications if the property owner contacts the publisher in writing.
Send a letter to the newspaper or advertising company with your name and address on it asking them to refrain from delivering at your house. Specific information regarding the publisher should be inside the publication itself. If delivery continues, please call the Police Department at (414) 471-8430.
What's the difference between a city tree and a private tree?
A city tree is one planted in the City right-of-way, which is generally the area between the sidewalk and the street. If you don't have sidewalks, the right-of-way generally extends 15 feet back from the face of the curb. But there are exceptions, so if you have questions, please call. A private tree is one that is not in the city right-of-way.
The snowplow damaged my mailbox. What can I do?
Call us as soon as possible at (414) 471-8422 to let us know. We need the following information process your claim:
The address where the incident took place
The date of the incident
The amount of the damage claim
Any other information you have relating to the incident such as truck number, any witnesses, etcetera.
What should I do if my sewer backs up?
Call us at (414) 471-8422. We usually respond within an hour of your call. If our sewer line is plugged we will open it at no cost to you. If our sewer line is open and flowing, and the obstruction is in your lateral or home plumbing, we will advise you to call a licensed plumber at your cost for a repair.
Are there always officers on patrol?
Yes. The Wauwatosa Police Department patrols 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
A false alarm is when a signal from an alarm system triggered a response by the Police Department, and upon investigation, it was determined that an emergency situation did not exist.
False alarms result in a response by public safety personnel, involve unnecessary expense to the city, increase the risk of injury to persons or damage to property, and dilute the overall public safety protection to the city. Per City Ordinance 7.08.005, persons connected to an alarm system shall pay to the city a charge for false alarms responded to by the police department.
Note: Alarm fees not paid by November 15th will be placed on the property tax bill.
What should I do if my contractor did not obtain a permit?
The owner is responsible for his or her property, and we will not intervene in contract issues between the property owner and contractor. Should a contractor not obtain the required permit(s) for a job, the responsibility is ultimately the property owner's. We recommend that property owners always request a copy of the permit from their contractor and withhold final payment until all inspections are completed. This is your best protection from fraudulent contractors.
Are there any seasonal restrictions to storing an item on the street?
Yes, storing an item on the street between the dates of October 15 and April 15 must also have the approval of the Public Works Operations Supervisor due to potential conflicts with fall leaf collection and snow plowing/snow removal.
If you are planning on storing an item on the street between October 15 and April 15 then please contact the Engineering Services Department before you come to City Hall for a permit so that we have time to check with the Public Works Operations Supervisor on whether or not your application would be approved.
Can I do construction work myself or must I hire a licensed contractor?
You are permitted to repair and replace various items around the house with or without a permit or a licensed contractor depending on what the project entails. To be proficient in the construction trades generally requires a minimum of four years learning the skills related to all aspects of the trade. However, we recognize that some homeowners may be skilled in certain aspects of the construction trades and may want to perform work generally required to be performed by a licensed contractor. Since there are so many aspects of construction that one may or may not be experienced with, these requests are handled on a case-by-case basis before the Board of Building and Fire Code Appeals. An application and fee is required along with details outlining what your level of skill is relative to your project.
Note: We want your project to be a success. We encourage urged to make an appointment with your district inspector(s). The inspector(s) will discuss your abilities, the applicable code(s), plan review and the inspection process. An inspector is permitted to provide you with a written recommendation that can be presented to the board on your behalf. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (414) 479-8907.
Does the City provide flashing barricades?
No, the City does not provide the required flashing baricades, you must arrange to provide the barricades privately. Some dumpster and storage pod leasing companies will provide flashing barricades as part of their service, others do not - check with your leasing company. If your leasing company does not provide flashing barricades, or if you are not using a leasing company, then you will probably need to contact a barricade flasher supply company to inquire about renting or buying the barricades.
If I do not need a permit, may I construct my project however I want?
The applicable building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and zoning codes still apply to your project. The only difference is that you are exempt from obtaining a permit and no inspection will be made. Our library has copies of all codes that govern your project, and these codes are also available through links on this website.
Do I need a permit to construct a basement rec-room?
Any habitable space that is created requires a building permit. If you are just painting the basement walls and not constructing new walls or creating rooms, no permit is required. If you construct a basement bedroom, a permit is required as well as a second exit - typically an egress window.
Does the City require flashing barricades for storing items on the street?
Yes, we require flashing barricades for items placed on the street.
Are there other conditions or requirements which I must follow that are associated with using the street occupancy permit?
Yes, you must obey the following conditions and requirements with a street occupancy permit:
You may only store items on the street in locations where parking is permitted. Items must not be stored where parking is prohibited.
Items stored on the street must be placed so as to maintain two-way traffic at all times.
You must also place a flashing barricade at each end of the stored item, facing traffic, for any item stored on the street. The flashing barricades are required by the City for nighttime visibility. Using orange safety cones, barrels or caution tape in lieu of flashing barricades is not acceptable.
Do I need a permit to construct a fence and are there any requirements?
Maybe, residential property owners may place a fence with a height no greater than four and a half feet up to the property line in the side and rear yards without a permit. Fences in front yards require a permit and are restricted to a maximum height of three feet with the length limited to 20% of the lot width and 40% of the fence area must be open.
Fences abutting alleys must be set-back 18 inches from the property line. Fences located along a side street of a corner lot require a permit and shall be set back three feet from the property line with landscaping provided in the set back area.
Please note that the City of Wauwatosa defines the front yard as the narrowest portion of the property facing a street regardless of the address or the way the house faces. For additional information or questions please call (414) 479-8907.
Do I need a permit to re-roof my home?
Maybe. Re-roofing is considered maintenance and does not generally require a permit. However, if you choose to install a roofing material that changes the architectural style of your house, a permit and approval by the Design Review Board is required. Note: Roll roofing is not an approved material, and there are standards in the building code that must be followed.
Do I need a permit to store a dumpster, storage POD, trailer or a pile of building materials or demolition debris on the street?
Yes, a permit is required anytime a container such as a dumpster or storage POD is placed in the City public right-of-way. The permit is also required whenever an item such as a trailer, a pile of building materials or demolition debris, or similar item is stored overnight in the City public right-of-way. The City public right-of-way includes the street and the grass parkway area between the street curb and the public sidewalk. The permit must be obtained before the item being stored is placed.
Do I need a permit to re-side my home?
Maybe. Re-siding is considered maintenance and does not generally require a permit. However, if you choose material that changes the architectural style of your house, a permit and approval by the Design Review Board is required.
Do I need a street occupancy permit to store a “Bagster - dumpster in a bag” on the grass terrace between the curb and sidewalk?
No, at the present time the City does not require a street occupancy permit to store one of the “Bagster - dumpster in a bag” type of storage item on the grass terrace between the street curb and the sidewalk. However the bag must not overhang the curb, obstruct the public sidewalk or otherwise constitute a nuisance. Storing other large, relatively immobile items such as a dumpster, storage POD, a pile of building materials or demolition debris, etc., on the grass terrace does require a street occupancy permit.
Can I extend the street occupancy permit beyond the seven day limit or renew the permit?
The permit can only be extended or renewed by express written approval from the Board of Public Works or their agent. To request such an extension or renewal you would typically first need to complete and submit a form called the “Board of Public Works Application”. The fee for that application is $100.00 and the application would need to include an explanation as to why you need the extra time. The Board of Public Works then typically requires about three weeks to review a request and render a decision. For more information regarding the Board of Public Works application procedures please contact Development Department staff at (414) 479-8907.
Do I need a permit to construct a storage shed?
Only storage buildings in excess of 100 square feet require a permit. However, the building and zoning codes still apply to your project. The storage shed must be structurally sound and placed the proper distances from lot lines where applicable. Contact the City Planning Department at (414) 479-8957 for applicable zoning information.
Do I need a permit to replace my water heater?
Yes. Water heaters are not considered fixtures or appliances. They are pressure vessels that, if installed incorrectly, can cause serious harm. Gas-fired water heaters must also be properly ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
How long can I store an item in the public right-of-way with the permit?
The street occupancy permit is valid for a maximum of seven continuous days of storage in the public right-of-way from the start date listed on the permit. This limitation means that the permit would typically be approved for short duration projects such as a re-roofing job or demolition of a garage or shed, but would not be approved for long duration projects such as a major remodeling or major reconstruction job.
Do I need a permit to replace my windows?
Maybe. Window replacement is considered maintenance and does not generally require a permit. However, if you choose to install a different style window that changes the architectural style of your house, a permit and approval by the Design Review Board is required. Also, any structural modification or change in size of opening requires a permit.
I want to remodel my kitchen. What permits will I need?
If you are only replacing counter tops and/or cabinets and not altering the physical space by opening or changing walls, a building permit is not required. Increasing the size of the room, structural modifications or opening existing walls,(except for necessary openings for mechanicals) will require a building permit. When applicable, electrical and plumbing permits will be required for any work performed, and licensed contractors must obtain these permits.
I want to replace the light fixtures on the outside of my home. Do I need an electrical permit?
No. Repairs or replacement of lighting fixtures, light switches, devices or receptacles do not require a permit. CAUTION: All replacement light fixtures and switches are now required to be grounded for safety. If you are unfamiliar with how to ground to an existing electrical system, contact a licensed electrician.
I want to replace the faucet on my kitchen sink. Do I need a plumbing permit?
No. Repairs or replacement of a faucet do not require a permit
I want to install a new dishwasher. What permit do I need?
Electrical and plumbing permits are required, and the work must be performed by a licensed electrician and a licensed plumber.
I want to install a hot tub. What permits do I need?
An electrical permit is required, and the work must be performed by a licensed electrician. A building permit may be needed if you place the hot tub on a deck, second floor balcony, or other structure that may require reinforcement to support this concentrated load.
I did work without the required permits. Now I want to sell my house but the real estate condition report indicates I must disclose this information. What are my options?
You will want to discuss your specific situation with the inspector assigned to your district. In general, you or your contractor will need to apply for the required permit. A penalty fee will be charged in addition to the permit fee, and an on-site inspection will be required. Be prepared to open portions of the construction to facilitate inspection if key work performed is concealed. You or your contractor will be required to correct any code violations. Depending on the situation, you may also be subject to legal action by the City.
My neighbor's yard is a mess. Can the city force them to clean it up?
Depending on what is making the yard a mess, the City property maintenance code may be helpful. To determine what may be in violation, review the property maintenance code on-line at http://ordlink.com/codes/wauwatosa/index.htm. Click on Title 15 and then Chapter 15.32. If the items of concern fit the regulations, you can file a complaint. Use this website's drop-down "How Do I" menu and click on "File a property maintenance complaint."
Do I need a permit to discharge my downspouts and/or sump pump to an underground pipe system?
Yes, any underground conductor (pipe) used to discharge storm or foundation water is defined as a "plumbing system" in the State Plumbing Code and requires a permit.
Where can I discharge my downspouts and/or sump pump?
Downspouts and sump pumps may discharge at grade or through an approved underground conductor (pipe) connected to the city storm sewer, to a landscape bed, rain garden, detention/retention area or other on-premise surface area as approved by the Department. Caution: discharge of storm water from a conductor must not cause a public nuisance such as discharging or flowing over a public sidewalk.
Where are my property lines?
Property lines can only be determined by a survey. Please note, front property lines in the city are not located at the curb or sidewalk line. They are most likely located at some point behind the sidewalk closest to your house / property. You may inquire about surveys on file at the Building & Safety division at 479-8907.
What is the zoning classification of my property?
Look up your address on Property Search. After you enter the address, you can find the zoning classification of your property near the bottom of the page on the Property Search page in the City Assessor's Department. You may also call the Planning Division at (414) 479-8957.
What are the setback requirements for my property?
Setback guidelines vary depending on where you live in the city. If you know your property's zoning classification you can look up the setback requirements in the city zoning code, Section 24 of the Municipal Code, and navigate to the pertinent zoning district.
Yes. While a permit is not required for a home occupation in the City of Wauwatosa, the ordinance does outline guidelines that need to be followed. For a complete description of the city's home occupation ordinance please visit the Municipal Code Section 24.02, Home Occupations.
A comprehensive plan is a document that details the vision of a city and outlines steps to take in order to achieve that vision. More specifically, the plan is a comprehensive examination of the city that is used to create a plan that will guide future decisions regarding land-use, infrastructure, zoning, and overall city character.
In Wisconsin Smart Growth legislation has been passed that, among other things, requires municipalities to have an updated comprehensive plan in place by 2010.
When are the Wauwatosa Health Department immunization clinics?
The Wauwatosa Health Department offers three immunization clinics per month.
The monthly clinic schedule is as follows:
First Tuesdays: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm by appointment only
Second Tuesdays: 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Fourth Thursdays: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
What do I need to do to obtain a food or restaurant license?
The Wauwatosa Health Department (WHD) licenses all food businesses in the city.
How can I get a tuberculosis (TB) skin test administered?
TB skin tests are offered most Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. You must return within 48-72 hours to get your TB skin test read by a nurse.
TB skin tests are also offered by appointment only on the first Tuesday of the month from 4:00 pm-5:30 pm. For times and fees please see TB Skin Testing Clinics.
How do I dispose of syringes and sharps?
Syringes and sharps cannot be disposed of in regular garbage or recycling pick-up.
View information on Sharps Disposal.
How do I get my driver's license reinstated?
Pay your fine to:
Wauwatosa Municipal Court
7725 W. North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Municipal court will notify the Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Department when the fine is paid, but you are responsible for reinstating your driver's license.
The nearest DMV office is located at:
7301 W. Mill Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Ph: (414) 266-1000
Can I reschedule a court date?
You are entitled to one continuance if this is your first appearance and you have not had any previous date changes on this ticket. Make your request in writing; you can do this by sending a letter to:
Municipal Court Office
7725 W. North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
You may also fax a request to (414) 479-8989, or by coming to the court office at the address above. Make sure your request includes the ticket number, your current address, and phone number.
Can I burn items outdoors?
You can, but it should be confined to manufactured portable fireplaces with the lid on to prevent sparks or embers from escaping. Burning must be done at least 25 feet away from any:
other combustible materials
You should keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose within reach.
You cannot burn:
waste materials from construction projects
other items designated by order of the Wauwatosa Fire Department
How can I get a copy of a fire or ambulance report?
Download the registration form (EL-131) from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website; mail it to the City Clerk's Office, 7725 W. North Avenue, Wauwatosa, WI 53213.
Register at the City Clerk’s office Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm; the office is open until 5:00 pm the Friday before an election (there is no in-person registration at the Clerk's office the day before an election).
Register at the polls on Election Day.
Electors are not required to register prior to each election. You only need to register if you have moved since the last election and have not registered from your new address, or have changed your name since the last election.
Provide a written request to the City Clerk's Office, 7725 W. North Ave., to have a ballot mailed to them.
Come in person to the office, located at 7725 W. North Ave., beginning the third Monday before an election to complete an absentee ballot.
Are there rules about where I can drain my gutters?
Gutters can be drained onto your yard or to landscape beds specifically designed for storm runoff. If an underground conductor is installed, it needs to be directly connected to the storm sewer. Exception: an approved stormwater management plan may allow you to discharge water to areas other than the city storm sewer.
Can I plant vegetables in my front yard?
No- front yard produce gardening may affect property values in the area. Therefore, it is prohibited within the city of Wauwatosa.
Can the assessment on my property change even if the assessor has not been inside my property?
Yes. The real estate market changes continuously. Even though the physical record of your property may not have changed, the economic conditions of the market may have affected the value of your property.
Do all assessments change at the same rate?
No. There are differences between individual properties and between neighborhoods. In one area, property sales may indicate an increase in value in a given year. In another neighborhood, there may be very little change or a decrease in property values.
Different types of properties within the same neighborhood may also show different value changes. For example, one story houses may be more in demand that two story houses, or vice versa. Older homes in the same area may be rising in value more slowly than newer homes. There are numerous factors to be considered for each property that will cause the values to differ. Some of the factors that can affect value are location, condition, size, age, quality of construction, bedroom count, number of bathrooms, basement finish and garages.
Do I have to allow the assessor into my home if an inspection is requested?
The State of Wisconsin recognizes a property owner’s right to privacy. Therefore, they are within their right to refuse entry into their home by the local assessor’s office. However, by denying an interior view, an estimate of the property’s description and condition is made, that may not be as accurate if the assessor obtained an actual view of the property.
Do I need a permit to install solar panels?
Yes, solar projects require a permit. Accessory solar energy systems are allowed in all zoning districts in the City of Wauwatosa. Solar projects must meet all applicable codes, and relevant permits must be obtained from the City’s Buildings and Safety Division. Almost all solar projects will require an electrical permit. Additional permits may be required depending on the project. The permit counter of the Building and Safety Division is in City Hall and is open from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Do I need a permit to raise chickens on my property?
Yes- you need to have a chicken keeping permit before purchasing any live chickens. You can raise up to 4 hens, but no roosters. For Chicken permit application and associated permit fees go to our Building and Safety webpage.
Do I need a street occupancy permit to store a dumpster, storage POD, trailer or a pile of building materials or demolition debris on my private property?
No, you do not need a street occupancy permit to store a dumpster, storage POD, trailer, pile of building materials or demolition debris, or similar item on your private property. A permit is not required as long as the item is located entirely on private property outside the limits of the City public right-of-way, which is typically 2 feet behind the public sidewalk in most locations.
Does the assessor have defined goals which they are expected to meet?
The assessor is expected to value all properties fairly and uniformly. To assist in meeting that goal, we are required to value in conformance with Chapter 70, of the Wisconsin State Statutes, and to use as a resource, the prescribed Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual. As stated earlier, the Department of Revenue monitors our results on an annual basis.
How can I participate in this assessment process?
If you have no questions about your assessment, you do not have to do anything after you receive your property assessment.
If you disagree with your assessed value, (not your tax bill), please contact the Assessor’s office. You can schedule an appointment during a period called Open Book. The appraiser assigned to your neighborhood will review your property’s description to make sure it is accurate and discuss how the value was determined.
To appeal your assessment to the Board of Review, you must be able to demonstrate in a factual and meaningful way, that there is an error in the assessor’s valuation. Only actual sales of comparable properties are accepted as evidence.
How can my assessment change when I haven’t done anything to my property?
General economic conditions such as fluctuating interest rates, sales inflation rates, supply and demand and changes in tax laws will influence the value of real estate. As property values change, those changes must be reflected on the assessment roll.
How do I get a library card?
Library cards are available to all eligible residents of Milwaukee County. Library cards are available in person at any MCFLS member library and are valid for 2 years. Adults, who are 16-years-of-age and older, can bring a valid Wisconsin ID or Driver’s License with current Milwaukee County address or must show two forms of ID.
To learn more about obtaining a library card, and for information about valid forms of ID, please reference the Wauwatosa Public Library.
How do I pay for water and sewer utilities?
The city issues water, sewer, and storm water bills quarterly in the mail around the first of the month. Bills are due on the 20th of each month. Bills are issued to the owner or resident. If you want, the bill can be mailed to an address other than the service address. You can pay your bill online, by mail, in person, by using the 24 hour deposit located at the south-west end of City Hall, through your private bank's online bill pay, or over the phone.
For general information about water utilities in Wauwatosa, please see our Water Utility page.
How does garbage and recycling work in Wauwatosa?
To find your garbage and recycling schedule, please see our Refuse and Recycling Map. You may click on the map to view an individual refuse and recycling schedule based on your address, and/or you may use the Search Tool to locate your property by address.
You are allowed to mow your lawn any time after 7 a.m. but no later than 10 p.m.
How is the City of Wauwatosa addressing energy efficiency?
There are a number of ways we save on energy costs:
We purchase is a hybrid sedans which allows us to use electric energy instead of fuel. Note that not every Police-owned sedan is a hybrid because Police vehicles run constantly. We have plans in place to measure the efficiency of our hybrid vehicles to see if Police would consider purchasing hybrid vehicles in the future.
We are replacing lights in City Hall and the Library with LED fixtures.
We have an Energy and Recycling Citizen Advisory Committee that meets monthly to explore energy savings opportunities.
We are exploring solar feasibility on government buildings with grant funding.
How many animals can I have in my household?
You are allowed to have a total of three animals over the age of three months in any residence, apartment, yard or property within the city of Wauwatosa.
How will my taxes change as a result of a new assessment?
Though the value of your property affects your share of taxes, the actual amount you pay is determined by the budget needs of the schools, city, county, sewer district, and technical college. All of these taxing units decide what services they will provide in the coming year and how much money they will need to provide those services. Once this decision is made, a tax rate is adopted that will generate the needed dollars.
There are 5 taxing authorities that approve a budget each year that together become the Tax Levy.
I'd like to replace my lead lateral. What does that involve?
During a construction project, it is a good time to evaluate the state of your water service lateral. We communicate with you (the homeowner) if there is a lead lateral on your property. As a homeowner, you own this lateral, so you can decide if you want to patch, line, or replace the lead lateral, at your expense.
In similar neighborhood projects, one neighbor has volunteered to collaborate with other neighbors to hire a contractor to replace several lead laterals in the same area. This could lead to a discount in price. The neighborhood leader would survey neighbors for interest, open a project up for bid, and serves as a liaison for selecting a contractor.
Is it legal to bury sump pump discharge piping in Tosa?
Yes, it is legal to bury sump pump discharge piping. If it is buried, it must be connected to the city storm sewer.
Is the proposed vehicle registration fee being used to balance the budget?
Some people have asked, "Why can't we cut services rather than propose a vehicle registration fee (wheel tax) to balance the budget?" We'd like to clarify: the proposed vehicle registration fee is not a strategy for balancing the city's budget.
The proposed registration fee would cash finance improvements to our infrastructure. If it is passed, we can use cash to finance these projects and save $4.04 million dollars or about $176,000 each year by saving money on interest. If it is not passed, we would pay more to complete the same number of projects. Learn more about the proposed vehicle registration fee.
What does an Assessor do?
The Assessor’s office is staffed by state certified individuals whose duties are to analyze, discover, list and value all taxable real and personal property in the city, in a uniform manner. The Assessor's office is not involved in the collection of property taxes or the calculation of the mill/tax rate.
What is the difference between Assessed Value and Estimated Fair Market Value?
For most properties, the assessment was established at the last revaluation, unless changes in a property description may occur after the last revaluation that may result in a different assessed value. The estimated fair market value is calculated by taking the assessment and dividing it by the city wide assessment ratio.
This ratio is determined by the Department of Revenue and the same ratio shows up on all tax bills within Wauwatosa. However, the ratio and its resulting estimated fair market value is not specific to location or type of property as it reflects all sales activity from the previous year.
What is the process of setting assessed values?
We, as appraisers set the values. The CAMA system is just a tool that assists us in our work. Internally, every value generated by our system is reviewed for “reasonableness.” If a generated value does not appear appropriate, either for its neighborhood or property type, other value indicators are considered.
Externally, our work is reviewed by the Department of Revenue (DOR) as to the degree of “equity” achieved. We receive reports from the DOR that measure our assessment results.
What kind of special assessment can I expect?
It has been the City of Wauwatosa’s long-standing practice to issue special assessment for public construction projects, such as road reconstruction, sidewalk, and driveway approaches. Assessments may also be issued for private lateral repairs. Special assessment amounts will vary by property depending on the scope of work required, which is determined after the design phase is completed. You will receive notice of any such assessments.
What should I do with grass clippings?
Grass clippings are not allowed at the Wauwatosa Drop Off Center or in the curbside yard waste collection. You can use one of the following methods to get rid of your grass clippings:
Use a mulching mower and keep the clippings on the lawn for a soil enhancer.
Collect and spread the clippings in gardens or flower beds to act as mulch.
Compost in piles or bin. Compost piles must be located ten feet or more from your house and should not cause odor.
Use the services of a commercial landscaper or yard keeper to manage grass clippings.
What tools does the Assessor’s office use to set property values?
The best tools are the appraiser’s knowledge and experience concerning the local market. That experience along with a computer aided mass appraisal system (CAMA) will be used to help us set equitable and uniform assessment for all properties. Additionally, sales activity within the municipality is used by the assessor in analyzing and setting assessed values.
Where can I drain my sump pump?
City ordinance requires all sump pump piping to be installed one foot above the ground and extend a minimum of three but no more than five feet from your home. You can drain water onto your yard, street, or alley as long as it is not creating ponding, icy conditions, or disturbing the public right-of-way.
Why does the City have to conduct a revaluation?
Wisconsin Law requires municipalities to periodically revalue all property to keep pace with changes in the market. During a revaluation, all assessments are examined and adjustments are made where necessary to guarantee that all property is assessed at market value. This is done to assure that taxes are distributed equitably and uniformly.