City of Beloit says town’s incorporation petition ends border negotiations

City of Beloit says town’s incorporation petition ends border negotiations

Officials with the City of Beloit said Tuesday the Town of Beloit’s decision to file its incorporation petition ends any efforts to compromise on borders.

The Town of Beloit filed its incorporation petition to become the village of Riverside Tuesday in Rock County Circuit Court.

Two hundred town residents signed the petition, which required at least 50 signatures.

Beloit City Manager Lori Luther said the town has submitted a map to the courts, cementing its chosen borders and eliminating the possibility for any compromise through negotiations.

“The Town of Beloit’s choice to file an incorporation petition prior to completing negotiations with the city on a boundary agreement effectively ends efforts to find a compromise that meets the needs of the greater Beloit region,” Luther said in a release. “This action makes clear that the town has not negotiated in good faith with the city.”

If the town were to incorporate, part of the town could remain a town, while another section of the town would become a village. There are multiple processes the town could undergo to increase the reach of the village title, like annexing land or creating agreements between governments regarding public works, police and fire resources.

The next steps in the process depend on if the Rock County Circuit Court approves the petition. If it does, the town could submit an application to the Wisconsin Department of Administration and get a referendum approved through a vote.

Luther said the City of Beloit will almost certainly oppose the town’s incorporation effort, because the petition does not address the impact on the town’s own residents on the west side, who will be left out of the proposed village boundaries, or the impact on the City of Beloit.

“Our priority is to protect the best interests of the greater Beloit area,” Luther said.

Luther said the interest of the town continues to be the potential financial windfall from the Alliant Energy Center Expansion.

“Currently, utility aid revenue is shared between the town and the county,” Luther said. “If the town’s incorporation effort succeeds, the funding percentages would flip, with the small population of the new village receiving twice as much funding than the other 154,000 residents of Rock County.”

Luther said the incorporation would reduce efficiencies, raise the cost of services and undermine cooperation, rather than advance economic development in the area.

The town administrator told the Beloit Daily News that a referendum could even happen in November 2018, or a spring 2019 election.