Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 21:55
Wisconsin Historical Society accepts collection of documents for Golda Meir Library on UWM campus
Record storage has been an ongoing problem for the Town of Saukville, but a partial solution has been offered by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The Society has accepted a collection of town records dating back to 1848 for permanent archiving in the Golda Meir Library on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Included in the inventory list of documents sent to the Society are: Board of Supervisor minutes from 1848 to 1917; the town clerk’s record books from 1870 to 1993; highway records from 1875 to 1904; Board of Health minutes from 1883 to 1919; and Justice of the Peace dockets from 1859 to 1900.
Also turned over for archiving was an old Ozaukee County atlas that the Society does not have in its collection.
“Our map archivist checked our holdings and we do not have this particular atlas. We are very pleased to add this to our map collection,” said Virginia Fritzsch, public records archivist for the Society.
According to the organization, the collection will be fully cataloged and available “in a few months.” Officials said the museum will give the documents greater accessibility that is offered by the limited hours Town Hall is open.
Town Clerk Naomi Bruecker said by sharing the documents with the Society, town residents can be assured that the historical documents will be properly preserved.
“Some of these documents have already been exposed to water from a leaky roof at Town Hall. In the museum, they will be in a temperature and humidity controlled room,” Bruecker said.
The library will be a far cry from the decades prior to the designation of a Town Hall, when records were stored at the home of whoever was the town clerk.
The Society declined to accept more than a century of town tax records.
“I checked with the Ozaukee County treasurer and they have all the tax records, including those for the Town of Saukville, at the courthouse,” Fritzsch said.
“We prefer to eventually collect the county treasurer’s copy of the tax rolls because it is easier to collect all the municipalities’ tax rolls from a central location, rather than going to each municipality. We are confident that the tax rolls are in good hands and if the county treasurer ever wishes to dispose of them, they are required by statute to notify us before disposal.”
The comment spurred discussion by town officials about what to do with outdated records.
“Some of our tax records are 100 years old, but statutes say we only need to retain those records for 10 years,” Bruecker said.
Supr. Mike Denzien said that issue should be addressed by a policy governing when records should be destroyed.
“We should have a policy that calls for saving all records of historic value and shredding everything else,” Denzien said.
Bruecker said she would draft a records ordinance, making sure all statutory requirements are met, and present it to the Town Board.