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Incorporation effort keeps 'plugging along'

Bloomfield committee circulating another petition

October 06, 2010 | 08:54 AM
Bloomfield — Some town residents have been asked to sign a petition once or twice in the last year asking the State Department of Administration to allow their community to become a village.

Now, it's happening all over again.

Another petition — the third in about a year — is being circulated to show state and Walworth County officials there are enough people behind the incorporation effort that began more than three years ago.

"When I first started, I figured it would take about two years," Bloomfield Town Chairman Ken Monroe said Thursday, Sept. 30. "But when I talked to others who have gone through the incorporation process, they said figure on three years at least, because they keep getting rejected (by the DOA) in Madison."

Once again, proponents of turning part of Bloomfield Township into a village are back at the drawing board.

A major inspiration for this effort has been for Bloomfield to maintain its borders. State law allows cities and villages to annex land from a nearby town at a property owner's request. If a city or village annexes town land, it reduces that town's borders and its property tax revenue.

A couple years ago, several town residents wanted a region northeast of Highway H to become a village. The state DOA asked Bloomfield to reduce the size of the proposed village, which at that time was about 21 square miles.

Earlier this year, incorporation proponents reduced the size of the proposal to 18 square miles. There was a well-attended hearing at the Bloomfield Town Hall, another hearing in Madison. But on June 14, DOA officials told Bloomfield 18 square miles still was too big.

In July, Monroe — also a member of the town's Incorporation Committee — said a new proposal was in the works. On Sept. 30, he said he hasn't heard from other officials about the exact square mileage of the new proposed village, but it's between 14 and 16 square miles.

In this map, Ivanhoe and Tuscany subdivisions are out. Also, more land is left within the town of Bloomfield near the southeast border of the city of Lake Geneva.

According to Monroe, every time the map is redone, a new petition needs to be signed. Now, incorporation proponents are looking at an Oct. 12 deadline to file the petition with the Walworth County Circuit Court.

Monroe said he believes they need between 75 and 100 signatures for the DOA's Incorporation Review Board to take a look at the latest proposal.

He didn't sound worried about obtaining enough signatures.

"The first time, I think we had over 300 signatures," Monroe said.

If Bloomfield clears this hurdle, Monroe said he expects one change in the process this time around.

"I don't think the DOA will have hearings," he said. "They told us we didn't have to have hearings again."

Monroe said he also believes if the Incorporation Review Board looks at the new proposal and the petition is filed Oct. 12, it may take that board up to 90 days to complete its review.

As such, this has become one of Monroe's largest undertakings since he became chairman. When asked if it's made him weary, he said, "I don't even know anymore, to be honest."

"Really, I guess it's just something that we started," he said. "The majority of the town people, this is what they want."

Monroe also dropped hints he's still thinking positive and will continue to persevere.

"That hearing at the (Bloomfield) Town Hall, the DOA told me it was the first time they saw that many people at a hearing to speak in favor of (the request)," he said. "Normally, I guess they have only a few people show up at these hearings. So, we'll just keep plugging along."

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