72 Op. Att'y Gen. 96 (1983)
 
72 OAG 96  97  98  99  END

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

Opinion # OAG 27-83,

3 August 1983

County Surveyor;
Public Records;

Counties that employ rather than elect a
county surveyor pursuant to Section 59.12,
Stats., are required to maintain the survey
record system described in Section 59.60(2).

Further, all counties are required to
maintain the survey record system to enable
registered land surveyors to comply with
statutory filing requirements.

William Dusso, Administrator
Department of Regulation and Licensing

On behalf of the Examining Board of
Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers
and Land Surveyors, you have requested my
opinion on two issues concerning county
survey record systems.

First, you ask whether a county may determine
the scope of functions to be performed by an
employed county surveyor and elect not to
maintain the survey record system
described in Section 59.60(2), Stats.

In my opinion the answer is no.

The duties of a county surveyor are
set forth in Section 59.60.

It is mandatory that the county surveyor
maintain a survey record system:

   The county surveyor shall. . . . .

   59.60(2)

   Make by himself or a deputy a record in
   books or on drawings and plats kept
   therefor, of all corners set and the
   manner of fixing the same and of all
   bearings and the distances of all
   courses run, of each survey made by him,
   his deputies, or other land surveyors
   and so arrange or index the same as to
   be easy of reference and file and
   preserve in his office the original
   field notes and calculation thereof;

   and

   within 60 days after completing any
   survey, make a true and correct copy of
   the foregoing record, in record books or
   on reproducible papers to be furnished
   by the county and kept in file in the
   office of the county surveyor to be
   provided by the county.

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Section 59.60, Stats.

The purpose of requiring the county surveyor
to maintain surveying records is to provide

a central depository for the records and
files of the county surveyor and for all
surveys made within the county, that
such records and field notes be county
property, and that said depository be at
the office of the county surveyor in
offices furnished by the county and
open during usual business hours.

60 Op. Att'y Gen. 134, 137 (1971). See also
69 Op. Att'y Gen. 160, 162 (1980).

The statutes provide that a county need not
maintain the office of county surveyor as an
elective position;

in lieu of electing a surveyor in any
county, the county board may, by
resolution designate that the duties
under Sections 59.60 and 59.635 be
performed by any registered land
surveyor employed by the county.

Section 59.12, Stats.

While a county may employ rather than elect a
county surveyor, the statute requires that
the duties of the county surveyor, including
maintaining the survey record system
described in Section 59.60(2), be performed
by an employed county surveyor.

Therefore, in my opinion, a county is still
required to maintain the survey record
system if it employs rather than
elects a county surveyor.

In those counties that have abolished the
office of an elected or full-time surveyor
or surveyor's office, the register of deeds
must file and keep survey records and index
them as required by Section 59.60.

Second, in your inquiry you note that:

In those instances that a county neither
maintains an office for a county
surveyor nor designates that the
duties in Section 59.60 and 59.635,
Stats. be performed by a land surveyor
employee, there is a serious question
about how a land surveyor meets
the filing requirement of
Section 59.60(6), Stats.

In my opinion, the county is required
to maintain the survey record system
described in Section 59.60(2) to
enable land surveyors to meet various
statutory filing requirements.

Counties are given broad discretion to
organize county affairs and
administer county functions.

With certain limitations, a county board may
consolidate or abolish a county office,
Section 59.025(3)(a), or transfer some or all
of the functions, duties and responsibilities
of a county office to another agency.

72 OAG 96  97  98  99  END

Section 59.025(3)(C), Stats.

The county's organizational discretion
shall be limited only by express
language but shall be subject to
the constitution and such enactments
of the legislature of statewide concern
as shall with uniformity affect every county.

Section 59.025(2), Stats.

One exception to the broad grant of
discretion to counties is where express
language limits a county's ability to
consolidate or abolish a county office
or to transfer the functions of
a particular county office.

Section 59.60(2) states that
survey records shall be copied

in record books or on reproducible
papers to be furnished by the county and
kept in file in the office of the county
surveyor to be provided by the county.

Thus there is an express statutory
requirement that a county maintain the
county surveyor's survey record system.

A second exception to the grant of
organizational discretion is where
legislative enactments of statewide concern
uniformly affect every county.

A number of statutes require that registered
land surveyors file survey records in
the county surveyor's office.

A land surveyor may perform surveys
for individuals or corporations

providing that within 60 days after
completing any survey he files a true
and correct copy of the survey in the
office of the county surveyor.

Section 59.60(6), Stats.

When land surveyors are employed by the
Department of Transportation or a
county highway department to
preserve and perpetuate landmarks,

   a true and correct copy of the field
   notes and records shall be filed
   with the county surveyor.

Section 59.635(7), Stats.

The cost of the work of perpetuating the
evidence of a landmark shall be borne by the
county in which the landmark is located.

Section 59.635(4), Stats.

I am of the opinion that the provisions of
Sections 59.60(6) and 59.635(7) are
"enactments . . . of statewide concern as
shall with uniformity affect every county."

Registered land surveyors are subject
to statewide regulation.

As I noted in
69 Op. Att'y Gen. 160, 161 (1980):

To practice land surveying in this
state, a person must be authorized to
practice by the engineering Section of
the Examining Board of Architects and
Professional Engineers,
Section 443.02 (1), Stats.

He or she must also comply with rules of
the Examining Board of Architects,
Professional Engineers, Designers,
and Land Surveyors.

72 OAG 96  97  98  99  END

Registered land surveyors who engage in
misconduct in the practice of land surveying
are subject to discipline, including
revocation of the certificate of
registration, Section 443.12(1),
which is required to practice
land surveying in Wisconsin.

Section 443.02(4)(a), Stats. Misconduct
includes violation of a state statute
relating to the practice of land surveying.

Section A-E 4.001(3)(a) Wis. Adm. Code.
Therefore, a land surveyor is subject to
revocation of the certificate of registration
for failure to file survey records with the
county surveyor's office as required by
Sections 59.60 and 59.635.

Furthermore, as you note in your inquiry,

the public policy implicit in the filing
requirement is to avoid repetitious
survey work and to permit the public
access to available evidence and
information on land boundaries.
 

I am of the opinion that both this public
policy and statutory regulatory provisions
indicate that the statutory filing
requirements of Sections 59.60(6) and
59.635(7) are matters of statewide concern
which with uniformity affect every county.

Therefore, a county is required to maintain
the survey record system described in Section
59.60(2) to enable registered land surveyors
to meet statutory requirements.

BCL:WHW:JN

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