November 05, 2013 | 03:28 PMBLOOMFIELD — The village gained almost 53 acres of land last week.
On Oct. 28, the Bloomfield Village Board unanimously approved a motion to annex the area, most of which lies along the northeast side of Daisy Drive. Earlier in October, the state’s Department of Administration (DOA) recommended approval of the annexation request.
A petition for direct annexation of 52.91 acres was filed Sept. 9 by Eugene and Mary Rush, N894 Daisy Drive. It was signed by 28 town residents.
Officially, this is the first time the recently established village of Bloomfield has annexed land. But it’s not the first time the village tried an annexation.
On Feb. 1, 2012, the village filed its request to annex the remaining town of Bloomfield. On Jan. 23, a Walworth County judge dismissed that annexation request. However, individual town property owners can still request annexation.
During an Oct. 30 phone interview, Village President Ken Monroe said he was happy to see that both the DOA and the board approved the Rush annexation request.
“I’m glad Eugene Rush and his wife took the first step,” Monroe said. “Hopefully, it’s not the last.”
Are there more annexation requests?
Not at the moment, Monroe said, but he has heard things and received questions.
“There has been some talk about it, but no one has stepped forward yet,” he said. “What it is, some people are buying some property … off Highway 120. They just said they were interested. They wanted to know, if they bought it, could they come into the village. I haven’t really heard much more than that.”
Monroe said he talked briefly with these people, and that he didn’t know their names, where exactly the property was or how much land was in question.
Annexations, however, are done at a price — not just to those who request to be in the village, but to the village itself.
Whenever the village annexes town land, it has to pay that municipality five years worth of property tax revenue.
Cindy Howard — town of Bloomfield clerk and village clerk-treasurer — stated in an Oct. 11 email that the tax revenue for the property in the Rush annexation request was $11,542.55 in 2012, before state aid. The village intends to pay in annual installments to the town, with the first payment due February 2014, she said, then it pays annually the next four years.
Where does this leave the town? In a mid-October phone interview, Bloomfield Town Chairman Dan Schoonover expressed support for those behind the Rush request, but concern over town finances. He said he expects other town residents to request to be annexed by the village of Bloomfield, but both communities are in uncharted territory.
“Right now, all we can do is watch and see what happens,” Schoonover said previously. “But, I mean, at some point, a decision would have to be made. At what point, if enough people leave, can you not be a township anymore?”
Before the roughly 12-square-mile region northeast of Highway H became a village in late 2011 — the idea was to incorporate all of Bloomfield as a village.
State officials had told incorporation proponents that a request involving the entire town was likely to fail.
In 2010, the town of Bloomfield’s request to incorporate a 16-square-mile region was rejected by the DOA.
Recently, in separate interviews, both Monroe and Schoonover have said the idea of making Bloomfield one community is still very much alive.
On Oct. 30, Monroe hinted that the village would view future annexation requests favorably. “Like I’ve said, we’ll welcome anyone that wants to come in,” he said.
According to the petition documents, 31 people live in the area — on 13 properties, a total of 52.91 acres.
Other property owners who signed it include Kenneth and Gaela Bergloff, N884 Daisy Drive; Brad and Ellen Bauman, N872 Daisy Drive; Jeffrey and Robin Hill, N856 Daisy Drive; Stephen Jacobsmeyer, N844 Daisy Drive; Edward and Marguerite Sylvester, N824 Daisy Drive; Edward and Jodie Yi, N814 Daisy Drive; Rose Lewallen, W916 Twin Lakes Road; Timothy and Lana Madole, N744 Highway H; Donna Jones, W943 Twin Lakes Road; Donald and M.G. Holden, W934 Twin Lakes Road; Marjorie Holden and Philip Robinson, N959 Daisy Drive; and Timothy and Lynn Zelinski, W942 Twin Lakes Road.
The petition states that the land in question is contiguous to the village, that the annexation would create “no town islands,” and the proposed annexation is necessary “to sustain continued services through the village, and to retain minimal municipal real estate taxes.”