State ex rel. Town of Star Prairie v. Bd. of Sup'rs of St. Croix Cnty.

Decision Date15 November 1892
Citation53 N.W. 698,83 Wis. 340
CourtWisconsin Supreme Court


Appeal from circuit court, St. Croix county; E. B. BUNDY, Judge.

Mandamus by the state on the relation of the town of Star Prairie against the board of supervisors of St. Croix county to compel defendant board to appropriate $400 for repairing relator's bridges. From a judgment in favor of relator that a peremptory writ of mandamus issue directing the appropriation of the amount, defendant appeals. Reversed.

The other facts fully appear in the following statement by WINSLOW, J.:

Mandamus to compel county board to appropriate $400 for repairing bridges in the town of Star Prairie, under the provisions of chapter 187, Laws 1885. The petition for the writ alleged that on the 2d day of April, 1889, the electors of the town levied $400 on the taxable property of the town for rebuilding and repairing certain bridges across Apple river, in said town; that said bridges were out of repair, unsafe, urgently in need of repairs, and each situated on a public highway in said town; that the total cost of such repairs will be not less than $800, which exceeds one fourth of 1 per centum of all the taxable property in said town by the last equalized valuation; that the town board of supervisors duly filed its petition with the county board at its regular session in 1889, which petition is set forth in full, and substantially agrees with the requirements of section 1319, Rev. St., as amended; that the county board refused to appropriate the sum requested, or any sum whatever; that such sum of $400, together with all other sums levied by the board for other county bridges, would be less than two mills on the dollar of the valuation of the taxable property of the county; and that authority had been duly given by the town to the town board to prosecute this action. Upon this petition an alternative writ of mandamus was issued. The county made return to the writ in substance as follows: First. That the only action of the town in raising the sum of $400 was as follows, as appears by the record of the meeting: “A motion was then made by T. Jewell, and seconded, that the town raise a tax of $400 for the purpose of rebuilding and repairing the bridges on Apple river, situated on section one, (1,) eleven, (11,) twenty-two or twenty-one, (known as the ‘Parent Bridge,’) and thirty-one, (31.) The motion was carried by vote,”--and that the location of the bridge or bridges to be repaired is so indefinite and uncertain that the respondent could not act upon it. Second. Denying that the bridges named were dilapidated, unsafe, or in need of repair, or that the safety and convenience of the public demanded their repair; also denying that said bridges are public necessities or are situated on public highways, and alleging that no estimate of the cost of such repairs, or plans or specifications thereof of any kind, were ever made by the town or presented to the county board. Third. Denying that the cost of repairing said bridges will exceed one fourth of 1 per centum of the equalized valuation of the taxable property of the town for the year 1888. Fourth. Admitting that the town supervisors presented the petition to the county board for aid in the repairing of the bridge, but denying that it was legally offered on behalf of the relator, for the reason that neither the town nor the electors thereof ever authorized or directed the presentation of said petition. Fifth. Denying that the electors of the town ever authorized the supervisors to institute this action or any legal proceeding against the county, and alleging that the equalized valuation of the town for the year 1888 was fraudulently made at 40 per cent. of the true value, and that, if made in accordance with law, one fourth of 1 per centum of the taxable property would be $1,347.45. Sixth. That Apple river, where said bridge is to be rebuilt, is a navigable stream, and that for that reason the county had no authority to grant the petition of the relator. Seventh. That prior to 1875 the main traveled road through the village of Star Prairie was on the section line betweeen sections 1 and 12, and crossed Apple river at a point where the river is only about 110 feet wide, and where a bridge may be built easily, and at about one half of the expense of building the bridge where it is at present located; that in 1875 or 1876 the town abandoned said crossing, and built the present bridge, against the wishes of a number of inhabitants of the town, about 60 rods north of the former crossing, where the water is deeper, the approaches soft and boggy, and the expense of construction double the expense at the former site. Eighth. That it would be inequitable and unjust to compel the county to pay any part of the cost of repairing the bridge in question, as the majority of the people of the county have no interest in the maintenance thereof, and the county board has the right to select the point where they will build the bridge. To this return the relator demurred generally, on the ground that it stated no defense, and it also demurred separately to each alleged defense on the same ground. The demurrers were sustained, except the demurrer to that part of the return which denied that the electors of the town authorized legal proceedings to be commenced against the county board, which was overruled, and to this order due exception was taken by the county. No further return was made. The issue as to whether the town authorized the prosecution of these proceedings was tried, and found in favor of the town; whereupon judgment was rendered against the county board that the peremptory writ of mandamus issue directing the appropriation by the county of $400 to assist in the repairing of said bridges, and that commissioners be appointed to co-operate with the town in the work, in accordance with the provisions of law. From this judgment the county board appealed.

S. N. Hawkins and N. H. Clapp, for appellant.

W. F. McNally, for appellee.

WINSLOW, J., ( after stating the facts.)

It is objected by respondent that this court cannot consider the correctness of the rulings of the circuit court upon the demurrer, because no appeal was taken directly from the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • Town of Madison v. County of Dane
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • July 9, 2008
    ...are not upon public highways, or are bridges which the town has no authority to build or repair." State ex rel. Town of Star Prairie v. Bd. of Supervisors, 83 Wis. 340, 347, 53 N.W. 698 (1892). ¶ 32 The first time the language "on a highway maintainable by the town" appeared in Wisconsin's ......
  • Bloomer v. Town of Bloomer
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • May 8, 1906
    ...within the principle laid down in State, etc., v. Supervisors of Sauk County, 70 Wis. 491, 36 N. W. 398;State, etc., v. Supervisors of St. Croix County, 83 Wis. 340, 53 N. W. 698, and the like, to the effect that in case of need of a bridge requiring exceptionally heavy expenditure for its ......
  • State ex rel. Court of Honor of Ill. v. Giljohann
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • September 24, 1901
    ...Wis. 257, 260, 264;Rork v. Smith, 55 Wis. 67, 12 N. W. 408;State v. Town of Delafield, 64 Wis. 218, 24 N. W. 905;State v. St. Croix Co., 83 Wis. 340, 343, 344, 348, 53 N. W. 698.If allowed to stand, it certainly determines the rights of the parties, and is, in effect, a judgment. The suprem......
  • Town of Madison v. County of Dane
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • June 14, 2007
    ...half the cost of constructing or repairing bridges."). ¶ 16 The County also relies on State ex rel. Town of Star Prairie v. Board of Supervisors of St. Croix County, 83 Wis. 340, 53 N.W. 698 (1892), which addresses a previous version of Wis. STAT. § 81.38. Specifically, the County directs u......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT