[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Grant County 8-1-1972 (Ch. 12 of the Grant County Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 267.
Pursuant to § 342.40, Wis. Stats., as created by Chapter 131 of the Laws of 1971, the County Board of Supervisors of Grant County, Wisconsin, hereby provides to County, state and municipal representatives a method for disposal of abandoned vehicles found within the jurisdictional limits of Grant County, Wisconsin.
No person shall leave unattended any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or mobile home on any public highway or public or private property for such time and under such circumstances as to cause the vehicle to reasonably appear to have been abandoned.
Whenever any vehicle has been left unattended on any property without the permission of the property owner or upon any public property or any public highway for more than a period of 48 hours, the vehicle is deemed abandoned and constitutes a public nuisance.
Any vehicle in violation of this chapter shall be impounded until lawfully claimed or disposed of as provided by this chapter, except that if any duly authorized County or municipal representative determines that the cost of towing and storage charges for the impoundment of such vehicle would exceed the value of the vehicle, the vehicle may be junked by the County prior to the expiration of the impoundment period upon the determination by the Grant County Sheriff that the vehicle is not stolen or wanted for evidence or other reason.
Any municipal or university police officer, deputy sheriff, state traffic officer, or conservation warden who discovers any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or mobile home on a public highway or private or public property which has been abandoned shall cause the vehicle to be removed to a suitable place of impoundment. Upon removal of the vehicle, the officer shall notify the Sheriff or Chief of Police of the abandonment and of the location of the impounded vehicle. Upon causing the removal of said vehicle by a towing service, the officer shall, within 24 hours of ordering the removal, notify the towing service of the name and last known address of the registered owner and all lienholders of record of the vehicle, unless the officer is employed by a municipality or county that has entered into a towing service agreement which requires the municipality or county to provide notice to such owner and lienholders of the towing.
The owner of any abandoned vehicle, except a stolen vehicle, is responsible for the abandonment and all costs of impounding and disposing of the vehicle. Costs not recovered from the sale of the vehicle may be recovered in a civil action by the municipality against the owner.
Any abandoned vehicle which is determined by a duly authorized municipal or County representative to have a value in excess of $100 shall be retained in storage for a period of 10 days after certified mail notice has been sent to the owner and lienholders of record to permit reclamation of the vehicle after payment of accrued charges. Thereafter the municipality or County may dispose of the vehicle by sale.
Such notice shall set forth the year, make, model, and serial number of the abandoned motor vehicle and the place where the vehicle is being held and shall inform the owner and any lienholders of their right to reclaim the vehicle. The notice shall state that the failure of the owner or lienholders to exercise their rights to reclaim the vehicle under this section shall be deemed a waiver of all right, title, and interest in the vehicle and a consent to the sale of the vehicle. Each retained vehicle not reclaimed by its owner or lienholder may be sold. The municipality or county may dispose of the vehicle by sealed bid or auction sale. At such sale the highest bid for any such motor vehicle shall be accepted unless the same is deemed inadequate by a duly authorized municipal or county representative, in which event all bids may be rejected. If all bids are rejected or no bid is received, the municipality or county may either readvertise the sale, adjourn the sale to a definite date, sell the motor vehicle at a private sale or junk the vehicle. Any interested person may offer bids on each abandoned vehicle to be sold.
Public notice shall be posted at the office of the Municipal Police Department or the office of the County Sheriff. The posting of the notice at the Police or Sheriff's Department shall be in the same form as the certified mail notice sent to the owner or lienholders of record. Upon sale of an abandoned vehicle, the municipality or county shall supply the purchaser with a completed form designed by the Department of Transportation enabling the purchaser to obtain a regular certificate of title for the vehicle. The purchaser shall have 10 days to remove the vehicle from the storage area but shall pay a reasonable storage fee established by the municipality or county for each day the vehicle remains in storage after the second business day subsequent to the sale date. Ten days after the sale, the purchaser shall forfeit all interest in the vehicle and the vehicle shall be deemed to be abandoned and may be sold again. Any listing of vehicles to be sold by any municipality or county shall be made available to any interested person or organization which makes a written request for such list. The municipality or county may charge a fee for the list.
Any abandoned vehicle which is determined by a duly authorized municipal or County representative to have a value less than $100 may be disposed of by direct sale to a licensed salvage dealer upon determination that the vehicle is not reported stolen or wanted for evidence.
Within five days after sale or disposal of the vehicle as provided in Subsection A or B, the municipality or County shall advise the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, State of Wisconsin, of such sale or disposition on forms supplied by the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation.