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Won't be much longer

Officials await pivotal moment in town's incorporation attempt

June 09, 2010 | 08:55 AM
Bloomfield — According to Town Chairman Ken Monroe, it's been four years of hard work to arrive at this point, when the state Department of Administration will decide whether the town should incorporate as a village.

"We're down to seven days," Monroe said Monday.

It's been four years since the Bloomfield Town Board first received a petition from residents who were tired of facing the loss of their community's land because state law allows a city or village to annex land from a town at a property owner's request.

Four years since the board followed the results of a survey and placed on hold the effort to apply to the state DOA for incorporation, since another petition directed the board to renew that effort.

Then, the town filed the petition. The city of Lake Geneva and the village of Genoa City file motions to intervene.

There were negotiation attempts, a revised map of the proposed Bloomfield village and two public hearings.

Now, Monroe is waiting to hear from the DOA on the fate of the 18-square-mile region northeast of Highway H.

"It's felt like it's been about 10 years," Monroe said. "I'm hoping we hear something right away. It could be by the end of this week."

If the DOA believes the request to turn about 18 square miles northeast of Highway H makes sense, then it goes to the Walworth County Circuit Court.

If not, Monroe said he doesn't know what will happen.

"I still believe and I always have believed we've done everything the state has asked and we have a 99.9-percent chance of being incorporated. ... To be honest, I've never thought of us not getting the incorporation," he said.

According to Monroe, the outcome of two public hearings held by the DOA's Incorporation Review Board — one at the Bloomfield Town Hall and, most recently, on May 10, in Madison — was positive.

"They went down all the stuff (on May 10) that was supposed to be done — including the amount of people in the town (and) its businesses — and everything fit the bill," he said.

This viewpoint appears to be different than what Genoa City Village Attorney Linda Gray shared with the Village Board at its April 8 meeting.

Then, Gray discussed how the hearing went in Bloomfield.

She said the Incorporation Review Board questioned some crucial aspects of the village request, including whether the remaining town of Bloomfield would survive.

"We don't think they have a really good chance, but what do we know," Gray said.

That could be good news from Genoa City's perspective.

In the past, Village President Barry Goad has expressed concerns that the proposed Bloomfield village limits don't leave enough room for Genoa City to grow in the future.

If DOA says yes

On Monday, Monroe said if the DOA sends the village of Bloomfield request to Circuit Court, it will be up to a judge to set a date for the referendum.

That will be the final hurdle for incorporation proponents — to receive a majority vote from residents of the proposed village area in an election.

But Monroe said if it reaches the referendum stage, the election would happen soon.

"If I'm not mistaken, it would have to be not less than 15 days and not more than 30," he said.

Again, Monroe believes that election is in his town's near future.

"We have everything a city or village would have, anyhow," he said.

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