170907_BELOIT_GR1

JANESVILLE

The town of Beloit may face a second opponent in its quest to incorporate as a village.

The Rock County Board is set to vote Thursday on whether to oppose the incorporation.

The city of Beloit has already registered its disapproval.

County board Chairman Russ Podzilni said last week the town appears to be out for the money it could reap by becoming a village.

“I feel very strongly about that. They’re just in it for the money,” Podzilni said.

The town and county now split shared revenue they receive from Alliant Energy’s power-generating facilities in the town.

By state law, the town gets one-third of the revenue and the county two-thirds. But if the town becomes a village, the village would get two-thirds and the county one-third.

Rock County now receives $1.74 million annually and the town $1.07 million, according to an executive summary included with the board’s agenda for its Thursday meeting.

The revenue is based on power generated, and Alliant is building a second power plant, so the county estimates that after the expansion in 2021, a village would receive $2.95 million and the county $1.87 million, a loss to the county of $1.08 million each year.

The county can’t cover the loss by increasing taxes because of state-imposed revenue limits, Podzilni said.

“The logical thing for the town of Beloit to do would be to become part of the city of Beloit,” to save money by putting now-separate services under one administration, Podzilni said.

The Gazette was not able to reach Town Administrator Ian Haas for comment.

If the county board votes “yes,” the resolution would be delivered to the state incorporation review board, which would receive public testimony for and against incorporation, possibly later this year.

Town officials have said they intend to incorporate a portion of the town as the village of Riverside, leaving a “remnant town” that could join the village at some future date.

The town has filed for incorporation in Rock County Court.

The court must review the application and determine whether it meets minimum requirements under state law.

If it does, the court would refer the matter to the state review board.

If the review board OK’s the application, residents in the area of the proposed village would have the final say in a referendum.

Officials have said the referendum likely would take place in April 2019.

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