It is important that the Town’s Staff and Elected Officials provide as much information as possible regarding the prospect of the Town incorporating into a Village. It is to that end that we will work hard to provide and update information as it is provided to us regarding this issue on this page and in our Electronic Incorporation Archive.
The Town has researched the prospect of incorporating several times over the past decades, but has never come this far. With the changing politics and possibilities around us, it appears that incorporation could provide benefits to the community, but this is not without its own set of challenges.
We have some basic FAQs below as well as some helpful links which will help to shed light on what shape this process has taken for other municipalities:
- Wisconsin Department of Administration Municipal Boundary Review Page– This page contains several links from general information to past and present incorporation and annexations throughout the state.
- Incorporation Process Flow Chart
- Municipal Incorporation-Consolidation Summary as of July 2015– This document details all incorporations within the State of Wisconsin (both successful and unsuccessful) and provides a link to the “Determinations of the incorporation Review Board” documents for the most recent petitions.
- “Town Hall” Meeting Presentation Powerpoint from Ian Haas and Stan Riffle– This are the presentation slides which were used during the Town Hall Meeting on incorporation on September 26, 2016 at the Turner School District Auditorium.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Incorporation of a Town?
Municipal incorporation is the process of creating new villages and cities from town territory. It is regulated by the Wisconsin Statutes.
What is the process for an Incorporation?
The incorporation process requires filing an incorporation petition with circuit court. The incorporation must meet certain statutory criteria reviewed by the Municipal Boundary Review Section of the Wisconsin Department of Administration. The Department of Administration is the administrative agency charged with facilitating the incorporation process, determining the ability of the territory petitioned for incorporation to meet certain minimum statutory standards, and advising the circuit court to either accept or reject the incorporation petition.
The incorporation process begins with citizens determining the proposed boundaries of the territory to be incorporated and preparing a scale map and legal description of the territory. The citizens also need to determine the resident population of the territory. The citizens then need to publish a class 1 notice of intent to circulate a petition for incorporation. A petition is then drawn up and circulated for signatures. The petition must designate a representative of the petitioners and an alternate. After enough signatures are gathered, the petition must be filed with the circuit court along with proof of publication. The circuit court then conducts a hearing on the petition. The court determines whether certain statutory standards are met, and whether any parties are entitled to intervene in the incorporation proceedings. If the court determines the map, legal description, population, and area standards are met, the petition is referred to the Department of Administration for analysis of the proposed incorporation. The Department may hold a public hearing on the petition if one is requested by any party of interest.
The Department of Administration analysis is a critical part of the incorporation process. The Department is required to determine whether the proposed incorporation meets certain standards. These standards include:
- Characteristics of the Territory
- Territory Beyond the Core
- Tax Revenue.
- Level of Services
- Impact on the Remainder of the Town
- Impact on the Metropolitan Community
If the Department of Administration approves the Incorporation petition, there would be a referendum in the area to be incorporated to determine whether the Incorporation is approved by the voters.
What area of the Town is being considered for potential Incorporation?
In general, the area of the Town located east of Afton Road is being considered as the town territory for incorporation (see attached map).
Why wouldn’t the petition for Incorporation include only a portion of the Town, rather than the entire Town?
The area of the Town east of Afton Road would meet all of the criteria for incorporation under the Wisconsin Statutes. While the entire Town is well served with police, fire, public works services, parks and recreation and other urban services, the area being considered for Incorporation is served with sewer and water utility service as well. Areas of the Town west of Afton Road are primarily agricultural in nature, and the Town’s long range land-use plan calls for these lands to remain agricultural for many years. One of the criteria for Incorporation requires all of the lands in the town territory subject to the Incorporation to be either already developed or to be developed to urban densities within the very near future. Since it is evident that the town territory west of Afton will not meet this criteria, the Town must consider whether it makes sense to file a petition that will succeed.
Why is the Town considering Incorporation in the first place?
There are several reasons why it may make sense for the Town to proceed with incorporation of a portion of the Town. Incorporation would provide the new Village more independence and local control, to be free from county control and to achieve more of a “home rule” status, independent of many state regulations. In addition, Incorporation would prevent the City from annexing the incorporated territory. Some towns have disappeared altogether when a city or village has grown and annexed sufficient territory. A new Village would be able to use development tools available only to cities and villages, like tax incremental financing. Finally, as a Village, the newly incorporated territory would receive two-thirds of the revenue paid annually by Alliant Energy as opposed to one-third of the revenue it receives as a Town. Based upon preliminary calculations, after the plant expansion, the new Village would receive about one million dollars more per year than if the territory remained a town.
What would be the plans for the remnant Town of Beloit (west of Afton Road)?
First and foremost, the Town Board is committed to making sure that all of the current services enjoyed by the Town will continue to be provided to the Town citizens at a cost similar to what the tax payers have historically paid. There are two possible ways that this will occur.
- There is a provision in the Wisconsin Statutes allowing a Village to consolidate with an adjacent Town as a matter of right. The conditions under which this is possible requires the Village to provide full urban services (which the new Village provides already) and for there to be boundary agreements in place with all bordering municipalities. The Town is in current discussions with the City to see if a boundary agreement can be reached. If the Town is able to secure the boundary agreements, the plan would be to immediately move to consolidate the rest of the Town after a new Village is formed.
- Service Agreement. If the new Village is unable to consolidate with the remnant Town, the Village, as part of the Incorporation process will enter into a permanent service agreement to ensure that the current town services are continued. The Village would subsidize part of the cost of services through a division of assets and liabilities, as required under the Wisconsin The additional funds received from Alliant Energy would be used to finance this subsidy. The agreement would address police, fire, highway, parks, town government needs (e.g. use of the current Town Hall and all other current Town buildings and grounds) as well as all other current Town services.
What are the next steps?
Town Staff are working to contact the Towns of Newark, Rock and Turtle as well as the City of Beloit regarding negotiations for border agreements.
The Town Board on January 30th voted to adopt the incorporation strategy to support the incorporation process as well as provide an attorney to represent the residents on the west side. The first meeting date with the informal group of west side residents has not been scheduled as of yet.