After decades of discussion, the town of Beloit has filed a petition to incorporate and ultimately become a village.

For 175 years, the town has been an independent governing body, and we intend to remain that way—INDEPENDENT.

Throughout its history, the town has evolved into an autonomous, robust, full-service community with its own police, fire/EMT, administrative, community development, sewer and public works services. These services and the genuine economic strength of our unincorporated town have made us a target for annexation by the city of Beloit.

Incorporation ensures that the newly formed village cannot be further annexed by Beloit, nor any other municipality. Incorporation is the only way for our community to remain independent.

By state statute, only the more populated and developed area east of Afton Road is allowed to file for incorporation. The more rural area west of Afton Road would remain the town of Beloit after the village is formed.

If not for state statute, we would be proposing the entire town incorporate at once. It has always been the Beloit Town Board’s position and intention to include the ENTIRE town in the incorporated village as soon as possible.

Every effort is being made to accommodate and include west-side residents into the new village. A citizens advisory committee tasked with developing an intergovernmental agreement for services between the village and town has made substantial progress, and it should have a comprehensive agreement finalized soon. This agreement would ensure the provision and sharing of services for a term of 99 years, thus assuring west-side residents that claims of “an uncertain future” are unfounded.

Unlike past agreements with other incorporations in the state, the town is requesting the court make our incorporation conditional upon the ratification of this agreement by the new village. The town board and administration continue to work diligently to ensure a complete and seamless transition for all residents into the new village.

Protecting our boundaries is the primary driving force behind the incorporation effort. Town officials have initiated talks with the city over the past 18 months in an effort to come to an acceptable boundary agreement. Ultimately, the town presented the city with an offer that we consider extremely generous and in the best interests of residents of both the city and the town. After closing down negotiations, the city has now requested entering into mediation.

Much has been made of the revenue sharing from the Alliant Energy plant expansion. Yes, the increased revenues to the town/new village would be more than welcome. It would be irresponsible and a dereliction if the board did not move to protect the revenues proscribed by the state.

City and county officials who accuse the town of being “only in it for the money” should take a good hard look at their own motives. Any claims that budget cuts and/or services reductions as a result of our incorporation have absolutely no basis in fact. The town board has offered to delay the revenue shift from one-third to two-thirds until after the second plant is operational, thereby ensuring that the county will receive no less (in fact, an increase) than the same tax revenue they receive today.

Incorporation will allow the town/new village to continue to grow with our neighbors as partners, on equal footing and with the same advantages which would strengthen the entire region.

Diane M. Greenlee is chairwoman of the Beloit Town Board.

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