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Meetings answering incorporation questions



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October 12, 2011 | 08:05 AM
BLOOMFIELD — One more informational meeting is left to explain the proposed creation of a village of Bloomfield, but more can be scheduled if residents feel the need, said Doug Mushel, chairman of the Incorporation Committee.

The next informational meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Bloomfield Town Hall, N1100 Town Hall Road.

The meetings are intended to provide residents with answers about how the incorporation process works and what incorporation would mean to those living within the newly-minted village of Bloomfield.

Residents living within the area designated for the village will vote Nov. 8 on whether to incorporate it.

Mushel also said he's willing to schedule more meetings if residents want them. An engineer at Kapur & Associates, Burlington, Mushel said he can be reached by calling (262) 758-6005.

"I want to get the correct information out," Mushel said in a telephone interview late last week. "This is an important decision for our community. I want the people to make an educated decision when they vote."

About 40 people turned out for the meeting in the pro shop of the Nippersink Golf Course on Oct. 4 and another 50 showed up for the meeting at the Bloomfield Town Hall on Oct. 5, Mushel said.

Some residents asked why the town was incorporating its core area around Pell Lake.

Mushel said incorporation will prevent annexation of land in the village and slow annexation of town land by either Lake Geneva or Genoa City.

It also gives the new village the opportunity to receive state aid and shared revenues.

He said most residents' main concerns were whether their tax rates will go up and whether their addresses will remain the same.

The proposed tax rate for the village is $2.88 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2012, Mushel said.

The town of Bloomfield's rate for this year is $2.75.

Mailing addresses, however, will remain unchanged.

The new village of Bloomfield, if it is approved by voters, will be directly between the city of Lake Geneva to the north and the village of Genoa City to the south.

According to Mushel, other questions included, once incorporated, how long before surrounding property owners can request annexation? And, who will control the village's zoning?

Mushel said that as soon as the village is created and its village board is seated, it can begin accepting petitions for annexation. And the village will have control over its own zoning, he said.

Both Lake Geneva and Genoa City intervened in the Bloomfield incorporation process trying to shrink the unborn village's boundaries and limit its ability to annex surrounding town property.

However, no one representing either Lake Geneva or Genoa City spoke or asked questions at either of the informational meetings, Mushel said.

He helped shepherd the would-be village's application for incorporation through the state process.

The last phase is the referendum, set for Nov. 8 by Walworth County Circuit Court Judge James L. Carlson.

The referendum will apply to those living within the proposed 12-square-mile village.

The projected population of the proposed village in 2010 was 5,093.

The town's population would be 12,048, Mushel said.

About 2,000 of those within the proposed village are registered voters, he said.

The referendum will be only for those living within the proposed village boundaries, Mushel said. He said there are about 2,000 known registered voters there.

Mushel said a straw poll was taken at the first two informational meetings, which showed a majority of those at the meeting were in favor of incorporation.

But, he added, the sample size is so small, there is no way to predict how the referendum will turn out.

This is at least the fourth petition from the town of Bloomfield for incorporating a village centered on Pell Lake

Bloomfield's incorporation petition is a resubmittal of a 2008 petition which the state Incorporation Review Board dismissed in June 2010, but recommended that it be refiled with altered boundaries.

On Feb. 10, the petition was resubmitted to the Walworth County Court. The court decided the petition met population and area standards set by state law and sent it to the Incorporation Review Board on Feb. 21.

In their petition, those favoring incorporation said they wish to create a village to preserve and maintain Bloomfield's civic, social and economic character, gain greater local control over zoning and development, prevent annexation and loss of territory, use tax increment finance districts, and receive state aids and shared revenues available to cities and villages.

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