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February 12, 2013 | 02:25 PM
The town of Bloomfield's committees have disbanded, the attorney resigned, and now board members are discussing how to keep tabs on the budget in case numerous property owners request annexation from the city of Lake Geneva or the villages of Genoa City and Bloomfield.

All of these items were discussed Feb. 1 at a special town board meeting. One of them seems to concern Town Chairman Dan Schoonover the most.

Over the phone Feb. 8, Schoonover said although there are no requests on the table from any town of Bloomfield land owner to be annexed into the nearby incorporated municipalities, what if there were?

What if several land owners wanted to be annexed into Lake Geneva, Genoa City or the village of Bloomfield?

How many land owners would it take to annex out of the town of Bloomfield to create a budget crisis?

"We don't know for sure," Schoonover said. "I don't know that anybody does. I've talked to many people over the last few weeks. There aren't many people who have been through what we're going through."

As for the comittees disbanding, he said the board wasn't able to find people to serve on the town's two committees. The town remains involved in the joint committees it has with the village of Bloomfield, Schoonover said.

Recently, Brian Schuk resigned as town attorney because he also serves as attorney for the village of Bloomfield, and it could be viewed as a potential conflict of interest. A story about the resignation and the town committees appears below.

Plot twists

All this talk about being worried over future annexations could be confusing — especially when, not long ago, Schoonover spoke in favor of annexation.

But that was different.

For years, the town sought to incorporate all of Bloomfield as a village. One main reason: Protect its land from being annexed by Lake Geneva and Genoa City.

State law allows town property owners to request annexation by nearby cities and villages.

The state's Department of Administration (DOA) wouldn't allow the entire town to incorporate as a village.

However, in 2011, the DOA determined a 12-square-mile region of Bloomfield northeast of Highway H met the incorporation criteria.

The majority of voters in that region approved the referendum to incorporate, and in December 2011, the state certified the village of Bloomfield.

A short time later, the town of Bloomfield made its mass annexation request.

Village and town officials, including Schoonover, spoke of how this would eventually make Bloomfield whole if the annexation was successful.

However, at a Jan. 23 hearing, Walworth County Circuit Court Judge James Carlson granted the city of Lake Geneva's motion for dismissal.

On Jan. 25, at a special joint meeting, the town and village of Bloomfield boards decided not to appeal.

Schoonover said he and Supervisors Sue Leedle and Tom Sullivan discussed why they need to monitor annexations in relation to the budget Feb. 1 at a special meeting.

"We're basically going to wait 90 days to see if anybody annexes to the villages or the city," Schoonover said.

He said this year's budget is already set, but if a large number of town property owners are annexed by Lake Geneva, Genoa City or the village of Bloomfield, "that's definitely going to effect next year's budget. We need to be prepared before next year comes."

The board directed Cindy Howard, town and village of Bloomfield clerk, to present more information — tax formulas, how much of a budgetary impact it would be if a few or several land owners left the town.

Schoonover said the size of the property and the number of people are two crucial elements. "If we lose population and we lose property, we just want to make sure we know how that's going to affect us," he said.

Again, no annexation requests have been filed as of yet.

Schoonover said some of the parties which filed as intervenors in the town's mass annexation request expressed a desire to do so.


Tags: Bloomfield-Genoa, News Page

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