Members of the state Incorporation Review Board said the town of Beloit’s petition to incorporate into the village of Riverside likely will be denied next week.
Of the six statutory standards required for a municipality to incorporate, the town’s petition fails to meet four, according to a draft executive summary provided by the board at its meeting Thursday in Madison.
The board claims the town’s petition falls short because:
- The level of municipal services that would be provided by the proposed village to portions of its west side are not known.
- Incorporation would have negative effects on the town’s remnant west side.
- The area proposed for incorporation is not sufficiently compact or homogeneous.
- The proposed village would include too much vacant, rural land with only modest population growth expected.
A municipality must meet all statutory requirements in its petition to successfully incorporate.
Much discussion during the 30-minute meeting centered on the financial impact of the new Alliant Energy power plant. If the town incorporates, the new village would receive two-thirds of the plant’s tax revenue—about $2.9 million annually—and Rock County would receive one-third—about $1.9 million.
Without incorporation, those revenues would be swapped, meaning the county stands to gain about $1.1 million annually if incorporation doesn’t happen.
Incorporation Review Board member Steve Ponto said the town’s incorporation would be a “foregone opportunity” for the county because it would not get a greater bump in revenue when the plant is completed.
He said the county could use the additional tax revenue to address countywide issues, such as opioid addiction, contaminated groundwater and public safety communications.
“I’m sure there are other problems the county could address with more funds,” Ponto said.
Ponto also said he “would be very concerned” about the town’s remnant west side if the town were to incorporate.
Talks about the town’s remnant west side—the area of the town that would not be incorporated into the village—have been some of the most contentious throughout the incorporation process.
According to the board’s draft summary, incorporation as presented would leave portions of the remnant west side isolated as town islands “with no agreement to resolve them.”
The summary also claims the remnant west side’s finances are “problematic.” The remnant town would lose all of its community buildings, equipment, facilities and Alliant Energy revenue but still would be responsible for 20 percent of the town’s current debt, according to the summary.
Those financial concerns “could significantly hamper” the remnant west side, according to the summary.
Incorporation Review Board Chairwoman Dawn Vick said the board likely will submit its final decision to Rock County Judge Barbara McCrory by Thursday, Dec. 20. The board will dismiss the petition as submitted, grant the petition as submitted or dismiss the petition with a recommendation that a new petition be submitted with revised boundaries.
Vick said the board is not considering granting the petition. Ponto said after the meeting he will likely vote to completely dismiss it.
“I thought there was enough endemic problems that it wouldn’t be satisfactory to just say, ‘Resubmit it,’” Ponto said. “There’s a real difference between the east side and the west side, so I think that’s a very fundamental problem.”
After the meeting, Beloit Town Chairwoman Diane Greenlee would not say if the town would resubmit a petition. She only said the summary gives the town “some things to work on.”
Rock County Board Chairman Russ Podzilni called the board’s determination “a great benefit to the entire community.”
“I was optimistic coming to the meeting today, and I am very happy, very pleased,” Podzilni said.
The city of Beloit and Rock County have long opposed the town’s incorporation petition.