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.
Our Police Department provides LIVESCAN 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, phone 414-226-7085.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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. The WHD also issues soda water licenses.
There are three different food licenses: restaurant, retail food, and city food. Any establishment that sells food, whether it is candy and soda or steak and lobster, the establishment needs a license.
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?
We receive absentee ballots about three weeks prior to an election. Registered voters can make a written request to the City Clerk's Office to have a ballot mailed to them, or they can come to the office, located at 7725 W. North Ave., beginning the third Monday before an election to complete an absentee ballot.