WHY IS THE TOWN OF BELOIT SEEKING INCORPORATION?

 

  1. Preserve the Community’s Identity and Character….

The Town of Beloit is a unified community of over 7,500 residents between the Greater Janesville and Beloit Metropolitan Areas with a strong sense of community that wants to preserve its civic identity and character, comparatively low tax rate, high level and diversity of services, and tax base. There is strong support within the Town for the proposed incorporation to preserve the community’s identity and character of the area.

  1. Make Decisions Without Intervention and Improve Ability to Attract and Retain Businesses…. 

While the Town is proud of its cooperative relationships with and within Rock County, the residents of the proposed incorporation area want to gain more local control over the zoning and development approval process. With incorporation, the new Village would be able to more quickly respond to the needs of existing property and business owners, as well as respond quickly to the complex task of promoting development and re-development and approving proposals, which would level the playing field between the Town and easier-to-develop sites outside of the Town. The process for many such projects in the Town are subject to extraterritorial review by Rock County, the City of Beloit and the City of Janesville (to a lesser extent). This substantially increases the costs and timeline for many projects.

  1. Preserve our Communities Borders and Protect the Future of Our Community…. 

Incorporation would provide control over annexation and tax base erosion in the form of lost territory to the adjoining City of Beloit and the possibility of such in the future from the City of Janesville. The Town Board is concerned about the continuing threat of losing tax base to these municipalities. Annexation negatively impacts the Town by forcing the Town Board to raise taxes to maintain a consistent level of services, and by preventing long-range planning and re-development of commercial lands that are of critical local and regional significance.

  1. Negotiate Agreements with Neighbors as Equals….  

The Town is a party to dozens of intergovernmental agreements that improve the interests and quality of life of our community and those of the region, it would be beneficial to the Town to sit on more equal footing with its neighbors. Becoming a Village would simplify very many issues when dealing with neighboring communities as the many threats that are in place for the Town form of governance would become non-issues. An equal footing in negotiations of future intergovernmental agreements would also improve relationships with neighboring communities as major threats and anxiety towards the future would be immediately erased through incorporation.

  1. Attract and Retain Businesses to the Region and Promote Infrastructure Improvement…. 

Incorporation would offer greater potential for the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as a tool to foster re-development along the Inman Parkway, Riverside Drive, Townline Road, and Philhower Road corridors to name a few. This will not only be a benefit to the Town, but to the region as a whole. The future Village would also make use of the powers granted to villages and cities to create re-development districts. The Town and region would be better served if the Town were allowed to become a Village and have access to the full suite of Village powers, including the ability to create Tax Increment Districts, at its disposal.

  1. Have the Ability to Be More Fiscally Sound and Finance Projects More Efficiently and Effectively….   

Financing large capital and infrastructure items has become increasingly difficult for all municipalities. While the Town has done well in spite of adversity thus far, there is a severe disadvantage to Town’s in the state of Wisconsin when it comes to ethically and effectively administering the finance of large projects with a high longevity. Currently, Towns are not allowed to initially issue debt for a period longer than ten (10) years. This means that larger infrastructure and facility borrowing must be financed initially and refinanced to match the longevity of the project. This can lead to many thousands of dollars in unnecessary loan and interest fees. With Village Powers comes the ability to initially issue debt and use the full suite of finance instruments. This would significantly benefit the tax payers and region.

  1. Ability to Receive an Effective Bond Rating…. 

As a Town, our community is subject to tax base erosion (annexation). This is an automatic detractor to bond rating agencies as it means the Town can lose tax base in the form of annexation to a neighboring City at any time. Having the ability to obtain and maintain a good bond rating can significantly reduce the interest rates of bonds issued for the improvement of public infrastructure and facilities. Incorporation into a Village would stop the threat of tax base erosion and allow the community to complete projects more affordably and efficiently.

  1. Increased Shared Revenue Payments from Businesses Located in The Town that Utilize Town Services…. 

The Town is home to the Alliant Energy Riverside Energy Production Facility. This facility is included in the proposed area to be incorporated. Currently, the Town receives a 1/3 and Rock County receives a 2/3 payment of shared revenues from the operation of the existing energy production facility (power plant) with one more energy production facility currently scheduled to be on-line in early to mid-2019. If incorporated, the Village would receive a 2/3 and Rock County would receive a 1/3 payment of shared revenue from the current facility. However, due to the 2nd energy production facility coming online, both the County and the Town/Village would receive an increase from current shared revenue payment levels regardless of incorporation. The Town has also agreed to make Rock County whole if there should be a period of incorporation prior to the 2nd production facility becoming operational. This insures that the County would, at no time, see a decrease in shared revenues.

  1. Villages and Cities Have More Access to State and Federal Aids, Grants and Shared Revenues than Towns…. 

Incorporation would enable the new Village to receive some state-aids, grants and shared revenues that are not currently available to unincorporated municipalities.

 The Wisconsin State Legislature, realizing that there are different challenges facing developed areas, has, by and large, reserved the designation of “village” or “city” for urbanized communities. Though the Town has adopted Village powers, there are still many things, such as those items outlined herein, that cannot be undertaken or enjoyed as a Town. The fully-developed Town of Beloit would like to be able to utilize the tools created by the legislature to more fully manage the issues that come with urban development. The Town feels that urbanized communities should be incorporated so that they may better manage urban development in a manner provided for by the Wisconsin State Legislature.

 

The Town has not previously applied for incorporation but has been discussing this option for several decades. For many positive reasons the Town continues to grow in size, development, services and character which has led to it being somewhat chafed by restrictions inherent in the Town form of governance. Essentially, the Town feels that it has “outgrown” the Town form of government. With the wide array and diverse nature of the services provided operating at high levels within the community, the interest in development shown over the years, and the growing sense of community and civic character being solidified and celebrated in ever-increasing community events, the Town only wishes for that which already exists to be acknowledged as fact.

 

The future Village is committed to providing services to the Town and Village in the form of joint departments to be shared between the two (2) municipalities. This will allow for a smooth transition in incorporation and the maintenance of 1 community. These departments and all current staff will operate in a substantially similar way that they do now as joint and shared between both municipalities to ensure the most effective and efficient services continue to be provided to the entire community without interruption. This will be funded as services are now with revenues from permits, user fees and citations as well as shared revenue payments being utilized to subsidize the costs of services. Property taxes will be calculated and assessed based on the percentage of assessed value each community has in relation to the whole. This percentage would be recalculated each year based on the assessed values as determined and distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (WDOR). This agreement is different than those of the past in that it is binding upon the Village for a term not less than ninety-nine (99) years and it will be requested that the Rock County Circuit Court make the ratification of this agreement by the Village Board a condition of incorporation. Such a request has never been made before (to our knowledge) in any incorporation process and further solidifies the commitment the community has to its residents and identity.

 

TOWN OF BELOIT AFTER INCORPORATION…..WHAT HAPPENS?

 

Because of the way in which State Law is written regarding incorporation, the entire Town of Beloit as we know it today does not qualify to become incorporated. According to State Statutes, only the portion of the Town East of Afton Road would qualify to become the new “Village of Riverside”. However, this is not the end of the process for this community. Immediately following the incorporation of the lands east of Afton Rd., our 2nd challenge begins, which is to bring those portions of the Town west of Afton Rd. into the newly created Village.

 

Now, there has been quite a bit of information, misinformation, skepticism, fear, etc. related to this topic. Hopefully the information contained herein will help to clear up misconceptions and put our community at ease.

 

  1. AT NO POINT IN TIME WILL ANYONE IN THE CURRENT TOWN BE WITHOUT SERVICES…

Services WILL NOT be interrupted in any way due to the incorporation process. The departments, staff, facilities and equipment that service the Town today will continue to service the Town and Village during and after incorporation.

 

There is currently a Citizen’s Advisory Committee comprised of west side residents, east side residents, board members and staff that are putting the finishing touches on a service agreement between the Town and Village that would last for 99 years. This type of agreement has been utilized in other incorporation processes elsewhere in the State of Wisconsin over the years, but we are doing something in our process that has never been done before. The agreement and process contain the following:

  • Agreement lasts for 99 Years;
  • We are asking that the Rock County Circuit Court make the Village’s ratification of this agreement a mandatory condition of incorporation (i.e., if the Village fails to ratify, there would be no Village).
  • There is no mechanism in this agreement that would allow the Village to back-out. The Remaining Town of Beloit would be able to exit the agreement with 18 months’ notice.
  • ALL current Town Staff would continue to serve as Joint Staff for both communities.
  • ALL current Town Facilities and Equipment would continue to be owned jointly by both communities.
  • Town and Village residents and businesses would have full access of use to ALL facilities as they do now. *Reference Section 66.0235 Wis. Stats. for a description of asset divisions.
  • ALL shared revenues collected would be shared between both the Town and Village (This includes any payments from Alliant Energy). Revenues would be used to pay debt service and subsidize operational costs for all.
  • TAXES WILL NOT INCREASE due to incorporation. If taxes increase, it would be due to future decisions made by governing bodies regarding operations and would not be, in any way, a result of incorporation. In fact, the sharing of revenues and joint operations may lead to a decrease in municipal tax rates.
  • Incorporation has NO EFFECT on the school districts of Turner or Beloit.
  • After incorporation, committees will be formed from residents of both the Town and Village to ensure that both communities retain a voice in operations. These committees would include a Public Works Commission, Police and Fire Commission, Finance Committee, etc. Also, the Town and Village Boards would be able to hold joint meetings at such times these bodies felt it necessary to discuss any issue.

The Citizens Advisory Committee has not yet completed its work with the agreement, but it is thought that this work will be completed and provided to the current Town Board for their review soon.

 

  1. COMING TOGETHER AS ONE MUNICIPALITY AFTER INCORPORATION…

 

The Town Board, Staff and many of the residents contacted have a very keen interest in not only remaining one community but becoming one municipality again after incorporation. There are several avenues that can be investigated and taken after incorporation to ensure that this happens. These are listed below:

 

      i. Consolidation Through Boundary Agreement with the City of Beloit…

If a boundary agreement can be reached between the Town and the City of Beloit, the remaining Town could immediately petition to join the newly created Village. *Reference Section 66.0229, Wis. Stats.

 

      ii. Consolidation through Consolidation Referendum Between Town and Village Initiated by Town…

If a boundary agreement cannot be reached between the Town and the City of Beloit, the remaining Town after incorporation could join the newly created Village as a result of referendum. *Reference Section 66.0230, Wis. Stats.

 

      iii. Consolidation through Annexation Referendum Between Town and Village Initiated by Village…

If a boundary agreement cannot be reached between the Town and the City of Beloit, the remaining Town after incorporation could join the newly created Village as a result of annexation referendum. *Reference Section 66.0219, Wis. Stats.

 

      iv. Consolidation through Annexation Referendum Petition Initiated by Property Owner(s)…

If a boundary agreement cannot be reached between the Town and the City of Beloit, the remaining Town after incorporation could join the newly created Village as a result of an annexation referendum initiated by property owners within the Town *Reference Section 66.0217(7), Wis. Stats.

 

      v. Consolidation through Annexation(s) Petition Initiated by Property Owners…

If a boundary agreement cannot be reached between the Town and the City of Beloit, the remaining Town after incorporation could join the newly created Village as a result of annexations initiated by property owners. *Reference Section 66.0217, Wis. Stats.

 

These all have varying timelines to completion, but the applications or petitions mentioned may be filed immediately following incorporation. In most, if not all cases, there are reviews conducted by the Circuit Court and/or the Department of Administration. Town staff and elected officials are happy to follow-up on any questions. The Town will be happy to e-mail links to or print-off the statutes referenced herein free of charge. Please ask questions and research. This is a large topic with many moving parts. We want to be as helpful as possible in providing information.

 

ROCK COUNTY AND THE ALLIANT ENERGY SHARED REVENUE PAYMENT…

 

The Alliant Energy shared revenue payment. As we are all aware, the Town currently receives 1/3rd of the shared revenue payment while Rock County receives 2/3rds. The breakout of these figures was collected from a document titled “Town of Beloit (#53004) – – Rock County Estimate of Shared Revenue Utility Aid” dated May 19, 2016. This document is available online through the Town’s electronic online archive and by request at any time.

 

Town of Beloit:

 

 

Rock County:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase

$1,073,585

 

 

$1,742,231

Unincorporated 1/3 share. No increase for new plant.

Unincorporated 2/3 share. No increase for new plant.

Current Conditions +/-

Town of Beloit:

 

 

Rock County:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase

$1,865,379

 

 

$2,950,757

 

$   791,794

Increased unincorporated 1/3 share with new plant.

Increased unincorporated 2/3 share with new plant.

Increase with new plant alone-not incorporated.

Village of Riverside/Town of Beloit:

 

Rock County:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase

$2,950,757

 

 

$1,865,379

 

$1,877,172

Increased incorporated 2/3 share with new plant.

Decreased incorporated 1/3 share with new plant.

Increase with new plant and incorporation.

The calculations above use the 2016 figure as a baseline and use the estimates provided to extrapolate what the total “Increase” or benefit to the Town/Village would be based on that baseline. According to these estimates, as an incorporated Village after the completion of the new Alliant facility, and based on current State Statute, the Village will receive approx. $1,877,172 more than the Town receives under current conditions and Rock County will receive approx. $123,508 more than it receives under current conditions. BOTH ENTITIES RECEIVE AN INCREASE FROM CURRENT LEVELS.

 

At NO POINT will Rock County receive less than it does at this time. The Town has offered to make-up any difference in revenues Rock County would face as a result of incorporation prior to the new plant becoming operational.

 

What does the Town currently pay for County provided services?…What’s the hubbub?

 

The Town currently has a tax rate of $6.84 per $1,000 of property value. This means that the Town receives $2,921,327 in tax revenue to provide all the services it currently does to the community. Police, Fire, Public Works, Parks, Administration, Elections, etc. are all provided for out of this figure with the help of user fees and shared revenues. This figure breaks down to $382 per resident.

 

Rock County currently has a tax rate of $7.37 per $1,000 of property value. This means that the County receives $3,146,883 in tax revenue from the Town to subsidize its County-wide services. This figure breaks down to $411.57 per resident of the Town.

 

The Town’s total general fund budget for 2018 is $5,552,514. The current Alliant Energy shared revenue payment amounts to 19.21% of the Town’s current operational budget.

 

Rock County’s total general fund budget for 2018 is $174,156,681. The current Alliant Energy shared revenue payment amounts to 1.00% of the County’s current operational budget.

 

If Rock County were to receive the total increase in revenue from the new plant as given in the first section above, their budget would increase .07%. If the Town were to incorporate and receive the larger, increased share of this payment, the Town’s budget would increase 19.05%.

 

  • The County is not opposed to incorporation, they are opposed to a switch in shared revenue payments triggered by incorporation (they are based in two totally different state laws).
  • The Town already subsidizes County services to the tune of $225,556 more than Town residents pay for their own services. This is not taking into account services utilized by the residents of the Town that are paid for in user and permit fees to the County.
  • At no time will the County lose money as a result of incorporation. Not 1 penny less. They will see an increase of $123,508 at a minimum. The County DOES NOT need to cut any staff or services as a result of incorporation.