Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Annexation request hearing March 28

by Steve Targo

March 22, 2012

BLOOMFIELD — The new village wants to annex the remaining town, but not everyone’s happy about it.

Two individuals and three entities filed a motion to intervene in the annexation referendum request filed by the village of Bloomfield. There will be a hearing next Wednesday, March 28, at 10 a.m., before Walworth County Circuit Court Judge James Carlson.

The motion was filed Feb. 27 by the Lake Geneva Economic Development Corp., the Lake Geneva Joint 1 School District, Otto Jacobs Company LLC and Cole and Vicki Jacobs.

Earlier this year, the village filed an annexation referendum order.

If approved, it would be up to those who live in the approximately 15 square miles of remaining town land to approve being annexed into the village.

During an interview March 15, Bloomfield Village President Ken Monroe explained the village’s position.

“We are not taking land away from Lake Geneva,” he said. We’re not taking land from anyone. All we’re asking the court to do is to allow the people who reside in the township to have the right to vote, to either come into the village or not.”

He said it’s “annexation by referendum,” and the majority of people he has spoken with “are in favor of it.”

State law allows cities and villages to annex land from nearby towns at a property owner’s request. In this case, the Bloomfield Town Board made a formal request to the village for annexation. Because of the size of land in question, the state requires an annexation referendum election.

At a regular Genoa City Village Board meeting earlier this month, Village Attorney Linda Gray said she would file a motion to intervene on Genoa City’s behalf. However, according to online court records, no motion from Genoa City was filed.

This isn’t the first time Bloomfield’s incorporation attempt experienced opposition.

In 2008, when the town of Bloomfield asked for state approval to incorporate, Lake Geneva and Genoa City filed motions to intervene. Back then, Bloomfield wanted to turn an 18-square-mile region into a village. Lake Geneva and Genoa City officials expressed concerns that such a large incorporation request would stifle the ability of their communities to grow.

A series of unsuccessful border agreement attempts followed. In June 2010, the state Department of Administration determined the 18-square-mile village did not meet incorporation requirements. The DOA also asked the town to refile a request for a smaller region.

On Dec. 20, 2010, petitioner Doug Mushel filed a request for a 12-square-mile region northeast of Highway H.

Lake Geneva and Genoa City attempted to intervene again. However, their motions were declined by Walworth County Circuit Court Judge John Race.

This request met with DOA approval. Last fall, the majority of voters approved a referendum to incorporate a 12-square-mile region of the town northeast of Highway H. The state certified results of that election in December 2011.