Rock County Board could vote to oppose town of Beloit’s incorporation

Rock County Board could vote to oppose town of Beloit’s incorporation

The Rock County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Thursday whether to oppose the town of Beloit’s plan to incorporate into a village.

The town filed its incorporation petition to become the village of Riverside in Rock County Circuit Court on Jan. 9.

County Board Chair Russ Podzilni said if the town incorporates, it would adversely affect Rock County’s roughly 161,000 residents.

The county’s main concern is tax revenue Alliant Energy’s Riverside Plant generates. Right now, the town receives one-third of the plant’s revenue, and the county receives two-thirds. If the town were to become a village, the ratio would flip and the town would receive two-thirds of the funds.

The plant is scheduled to expand in the next few years, which means more revenue would be available.

“It’s a greater good to have 160,000 people, rather than 6,500 people, get the extra money,” Podzilni said. “Greater good for the greater number.”

According to the Rock County Board of Supervisor’s Executive Summary , the county currently receives $1.74 million and the town receives $1.07 million. After the expansion of the Alliant Energy Riverside Plant, and if the town becomes a village, the village would receive $2.95 million and the county would receive $1.87 million.

“We don’t feel that the town should get the extra million dollars at the expense of the full county when we can do so much good for the county in general, for all the services that we offer,” Podzilni said.

According to Podzilni, the county can only raise taxes to a certain extent and wouldn’t be able to make up the money it would lose from the incorporation.

“I think the county should have the extra million dollars to spread throughout all towns, villages and cities in the county,” he said. “That million dollars could apply to all the services that we offer, such as health department, sheriff’s department, social services, human services. All of these things are run and fueled by tax dollars. If we lose a million dollars, we’re going to lose the ability to fund some of these things.”

Town of Beloit Administrator Ian Haas was out of the office Thursday. In a previous interview with News 3 , he said the time is right to incorporate.

“The way the state statutes were originally formatted, towns were meant to be buffer areas between larger municipalities,” Haas had said. “They weren’t meant to be their own fully-functioning communities and municipalities themselves.”

The city of Beloit has also expressed its disapproval of the town’s plan to incorporate.

“The Town’s actions are not in the interests of or helpful to building the future of this region,” Beloit City Manager Lori Luther send in a release.

Podzilni said if the board opposes the incorporation, it would be able to explain its reasoning to the state incorporation review board, which would then decide whether the town’s proposal could move forward.

“There are a lot of steps along the way, but we have stated our position,” Podzilni said. “We will be represented at any hearing along the way up until there’s a final vote on this.”

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