A municipal utility does not obtain a lien merely by providing services or mailing utility bills.
“We cannot find and Reedsburg does not point to any Wisconsin authority or legislative history suggesting that Wis. Stat. § 66.0809(3), like the wage lien statute, gives a municipal utility an interest in a delinquents’ property by merely providing utility services or mailing utility bills. Although the statute in AR Accessories did not expressly state that the wage lien came into existence when the employee performed services, it did state that the department ‘shall have a lien.’ By contrast, Wis. Stat. § 66.0809(3) states that the ‘delinquent amount . . . becomes a lien’ not when services are rendered or bills delivered, but after (1) notice is provided on October 15; (2) a list of properties in arrears is furnished to municipal officials; (3) the arrearage remains unpaid by November 15; and (4) the municipal officials file a list with the county clerk on November 16. Only then, and assuming Grede did not meanwhile pay its utility bill, could the ‘delinquent amount . . . become a lien’ on Grede’s property. Thus, because Reedsburg did not have a prepetition interest in Grede’s property, the § 362(b)(3) exception did not apply to Reedsburg’s actions.”
10-2509 In re Grede Foundries, Inc.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Crabb, J., Tinder, J.