Frequently Asked Questions
2021 Annual Newsletter (dates are corrected from the one mailed in the December tax bill)
All questions regarding the Merrimac ferry (is it running, how much, when does it close, etc?).
Check out our Merrimac Ferry Page or call the Department of Transportation info line at (866)511-9472.
How do I get a dog license?
All dogs in the town are required to be licensed per state and county laws. A dog license is $5 for spayed/neutered. $10 for all others. Make the check payable to Town of Merrimac. Include your rabies vaccinations certificate and a self-addressed return envelope. Mail to the town at PO Box 115, Merrimac, 53561. Dog license fees are collected every tax collection period and are considered late after April 1 for that license year. A $5 fee is assessed for renewal licenses after April 1. If you are adopting a dog from the Sauk County Humane Society, they are authorized to license your dog, but only at adoption. Renewal licensing is still through the town.
Does the town reimburse the Non-Participating Fee for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Department and how do I get reimbursed?
Yes! The participation fee does not justify the number of participants from the town. We have saved thousands of dollars simply reimbursing families for the difference from the fee charged to those who live in participating communities, which is $20. You can forward your confirmation email to email@example.com or mail in a copy of your paid invoice or canceled check to the Town of Merrimac, P.O. Box 115, Merrimac, WI 53561.
Who do I call for garbage/recycling issues?
The town can help you if the problem does not get resolved, but we encourage you to talk directly to the hauler first as it eliminates the middle person. Check out the collection schedule, guidelines, and contact number on our Trash and Recycling page.
Where can I purchase a Great Sauk Trail pass?
All state trail passes sold in Sauk County helps support the cost and maintenance of the Great Sauk Trail. The pass can be used statewide. A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 and older for biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding or in-line skating on certain trails. Mail a separate check for $25 per pass made payable to the Town of Merrimac at PO BOX 115, Merrimac, WI 53561. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
How does a revaluation of the Town affect my property tax?
Why hasn't the town lowered/raised the assessment on our property?
A revaluation of the entire town is only done when the value of the town falls outside of the Dept. of Revenue's assigned value as determined by sales (+ or - 10%). During years when a revaluation is not required, only homes that have been sold, built, or remodeled are assigned new values. Visit our Taxes & Property Info page for more information.
Can I rent rent out my home on a daily or weekly basis (vacation rentals)?
No one may rent their property for this purpose without a conditional use permit. Vacation rentals by owner are required by state law to obtain a permit from the WI Department of Health Services (WI DHS) and are considered a business. Anyone who is renting their residence on this basis is also required to collect and remit to the Town a 7% room tax as well as collect State and County Sales Tax. Property owners are reminded that an application for this use does not guarantee that a permit will be issued.
Can we have chickens?
Chickens are not allowed in residential neighborhoods on parcels with less than 1.15 acres. This is primarily due to the nature of our lakefront community having smaller lots and no storm sewers. Chickens are regulated in the residential district on lots that are 1.15 thru 4.99 acres and a permit is required.
What or where is the right-of-way (ROW)?
The right-of-way, or ROW, is 66' wide on most town roads. The road is the actual paved surface. In newer subdivisions, the ROW ends at the property line. In older subdivisions and on farm roads, the owner's property line is in the center of the ROW. A Certified Survey Map (CSM) is the best way to identify exactly where the ROW ends on your property.
Can I park on the street?
Parking on the paved surface of the road is not permitted per state statute and town ordinance. Vehicles can be parked in the right-of-way (the shoulder) on a short-term basis, but long-term storage of vehicles is prohibited by town ordinance and cannot exceed 72 hours.
My culvert is plugged, who can I call?
If the culvert runs under your driveway, it is your responsibility to keep it clear and in operating condition. If there is a culvert on your property that is in the right-of-way, we ask that you maintain this area as well. It is very similar to the responsibility of a city/village property owner who are required to keep an adjacent storm drain clear. In extreme circumstances you should call the town hall, but if it is an emergency situation (immediate damage to persons or property), please contact Sheriff Dispatch at 356-4895.
What is the population of the Town of Merrimac?
The January 1, 2020 population estimate is 1,011, or more than double the population in the Village of Merrimac. There are an estimated 879 residents of voting age. As of November 2020, the town had 100% voter registration (890).
Do I need a building permit?
All property improvements with an estimated value of $500 or more requires a building permit. Check out the Planning & Zoning page for all information regarding residential permits and ordinances.
Realtor & Rummage sale signs.
Temporary realtor signs, signs for vegetable stands, political signs, and garage/rummage sale signs are allowed without a permit. These signs cannot be placed in any public right-of-way under statute. All other signs require a permit.
My garbage/recycling was not picked up. Now what?
Garbage is required to be out by 6:00 a.m. on Monday's. If Monday is a holiday, then pickup is on Tuesday. If your trash is not out before the truck comes by, they will not come back. If the recyclables or trash contain ineligible materials, the hauler will not pick those items up. They will not take electronics, appliances, furniture, construction material unless special arrangements are made. Questions about materials not picked up should be directed to Peterson Sanitation at (608) 524-6603.
Do I need a permit to place a pier on my property?
At present, the Town does not require a pier permit to place a private pier on private land. The State of Wisconsin has several regulations about pier placement and in some cases require a permit. Residents should contact the DNR with further questions.
Land owners should also know that Wisconsin Statute 30.133 (1) prohibits riparian land owners from conveying of riparian rights to non-riparian land owners. It reads, "Beginning on April 9, 1994, ... no owner of riparian land that abuts a navigable water may grant by an easement or by a similar conveyance any riparian right in the land to another person, except for the right to cross the land in order to have access to the navigable water. This right to cross the land may not include the right to place any structure or material, including a boat docking facility ... in the navigable water." Riparian land is land that abuts the water.
Can I place on pier on the Public Access?
Under town ordinance, the former pier permitting program is gradually being discontinued. No new applications are being accepted from persons who were not permitted to place a pier prior to 2009.
How much do I owe for taxes/when are they due?
Your tax statement is determined after the Board of Review has been completed. The statements can be expected in early December. Your first installment (or to pay in full) by January 31st of each year and are sent to the . After January 31st, mail them to Sauk County. The second installment is due July 31st to the .
Where is the beach on Lake Wisconsin?
There are no public beaches on the north side of Lake Wisconsin. While the lake provides several great recreational opportunities, the flow of the Wisconsin River through the lake causes challenges for swimmers if they are on the main channel. Devil's Lake State Park has a beautiful beach. Take Hwy. 113 to South Lake Road to access the South Shore Beach.
Open Records Requests
All requests for records must be made in writing. The town may charge $.25 per page and will not produce the record until agreed to by the requestor. As a matter of policy, the clerk does not respond to emails from unknown parties as a safety precaution against phishing or other malicious malware. If your request has not been answered and it is a legitimate request, please contact the clerk's office.
How are ordinances enforced?
The Town does not have a police force. State laws are enforced by the Sauk County Sheriff. Because the Town does not have a police department, we also do not have ticketing authority. Forfeitures are requested by the Town Board or the Town Administrator. Failure to pay these forfeitures then leads to court action. Ultimately, a request to pay forfeitures is the way the town can pursue ordinance violations.