Jul 26, 2014
Partly Cloudy

Sunshine Week: Shining Light Onto Public Governance

In observance of Sunshine Week, Patch is providing some information on your rights to observe your government in action, and some resources for you to explore open records yourself.

Sunshine Week: Shining Light Onto Public Governance

Want to know how much the superintendent makes? That's an open record.

Want to watch Fox Point and Bayside officials deliberate and decide what to do about a proposed development? That's an open meeting. 

Wisconsin has a long history of open government, and strong laws that support it. Fox Point-Bayside Patch is observing Sunshine Week 2012, which begins today. As part of that observation, we want to share with you some of the open government resources available to anyone. 

You have the right to see the records the government keeps — from health inspection reports to employee salaries to the entire municipal or school district budget — and to be present at the meetings where governmental business gets done. The expectation is that government is open — if they want to close the meeting or keep a document confidential, they need to say why. And in most cases, they aren't allowed to ask who you are or why you want to see the record you're requesting.

If you know of an open government issue you'd like Fox Point-Bayside Patch to look into, email Local Editor Sarah Worthman.

See for yourself

The Internet has made it easier to access a lot of public information. As governments go digital, the amount of information available online has grown. Here are links to some online databases you can search.  

Local resources

  • Find Fox Point residential home data here
  • You can do a Fox Point land record search using this link.
  • Bayside has land records here
  • Looking for Bayside residential home data? Try this link.

To request access to records in your community, go to:

9075 N. Regent Rd.

7200 N. Santa Monica Blvd. 
Fox Point

6701 N. Jean Nicolet Rd. 

7300 N. Lombardy Rd.
Fox Point

8377 N. Port Washington Rd.
Fox Point

State resources

If you want to dig into the legal aspects of it, here are links to the statutes and guidelines from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

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