December 30, 2013 | 01:12 PMTOWN OF BLOOMFIELD — Uncertainty over future annexations and 2014’s road projects are next year’s biggest issues for chairman Dan Schoonover.
“We’re going to try to finish the road project we started in Ivanhoe, (but) that’s going to depend on what we have over the winter, how much money we spend on plowing and salt,” he said in a Dec. 19 phone interview. “We’d like to see $45,000 to $50,000 spent on town roads next year.”
What does the potential for town of Bloomfield properties to be annexed by the neighboring villages of Bloomfield and Genoa City or the city of Lake Geneva have to do with roads?
“We’d lose some roads,” Schoonover said.
For example, he said, subdivisions could be annexed out of the town, leaving maintenance and upkeep the job of the annexing municipality.
But that’s not an immediate concern, said Schoonover.
“You’re not going to lose a lot of road miles until you lose a lot of people.”
Will that happen? In recent memory, sizable annexation requests have sparked opposition from towns facing the loss of land — and tax revenue.
But in the town of Bloomfield’s case, “we want to be back together” with the village of Bloomfield, said Schoonover.
In 2012, the village filed its request to conduct a mass annexation of the town of Bloomfield.
In January 2013, a Walworth County Circuit Court judge denied the request.
“There are no plans to try a mass annexation again at this time,” Schoonover said.
However, individual town property owners can still request to be annexed.
Such was the case in October 2013, when 28 former town of Bloomfield property owners, mostly along the northeast side of Daisy Drive, signed a petition circulated by Eugene and Mary Rush.
“No one has come up to me that has made a commitment or is serious about (annexation) at this time,” Schoonover said.
In previous interviews, he has asked what would happen to the town’s budget if more people were annexed out of the town.
Schoonover said he’s tried, but he’s received “no real clear cut answer on it.”
“At this point, quite a bit of land would have to be annexed before it would be a problem,” he said.
Or land that’s worth a lot, “where we’d lose enough of our value that we can’t meet our budget,” said Schoonover, “whether it’s some high-end homes or a whole lot of land with some nice homes.”
He added that annexation isn’t always easy, but it seems he’s not going to make it more difficult for anyone.
“When (property owners request to be) annexed, they need to show a reason for the annexation. I’m sure the state looks at it case by case. ... But I’d have no reason to not support anybody if they think it’s in their best interest.”
The main town issue for 2014, according to Schoonover, is the completion of road projects.
He said in 2013, the town spent $169,058 on anything road-related — almost a quarter of the total budget.
That amount includes road projects, and Schoonover said the town has paid between $45,000 and $55,000 for road maintenance and repairs the past couple years.
For the Ivanhoe project, he estimated it will be between $50,000 and $55,000, but it will depend how much the town spends this winter.
“We’ve already spent a lot in the last couple days,” he said.
Aside from some crack filling along most town roads, the main focus will be finishing the Lake Ivanhoe project.
Schoonover said work is being done on most streets in that subdivision.
Last year, they did “wedging,” or fixing the crumbling edges of the roads.
Last summer, a problem occurred during the wedging project. Materials that were laid on the roads on a hot day “caused an awful lot of headaches for the residents there,” Schoonover said.
“But folks were very good about it. We’re looking into making sure that never happens again. I feel bad because that was just a pain for everybody.”