Public Hearing Held On Proposed Kekoskee, Williamstown Merger

(Kekoskee) The public had an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed cooperative plan between the Village of Kekoskee and the Town of Williamstown during a hearing Thursday. Legal representation from the village and township, as well as the city,  stated their cases to representatives from the Department of Administration who will be making the final decision on the plan.

Under the proposal, the village would absorb the township and be renamed the village of Williamstown, giving the new entity ‘home rule.’ That means the new village would be equal to the city of Mayville when it comes to annexing land. Because there are currently no border agreements in place between the city and the town, it is currently much easier for Mayville to annex land into the city.

Attorney Ken Jaworski, who represents the township and village, says the cooperative plan would increase the pool for municipal officials, increase the local economy through home rule, protect town residents from extraterritorial interference during land additions, establish a more predictable tax base, protect and control the town’s destiny and improve the ability to negotiate with the city.

Attorney James Hammes, who represents Mayville, says the plan would stunt Mayville’s growth. He says if the plan goes through it would freeze Mayville’s borders, putting the city at the mercy of the new region for future development. Hammes adds that the entire town of Williamstown is an ‘ag preservation zone’ which means it is land that will never be developed.

Those who are in favor of the plan say that the city has all the power. Those who spoke against the plan say the merger will not work to better the region. The public is still able to submit comments to the Department of Administration until April 23 at:

Municipal Boundary Review Program, Division of Intergovernmental Relations, Wisconsin Department of Administration, P.O. Box 1645, Madison, WI, 53701 or emailed to: [email protected].

Williamstown, Kekoskee and Mayville will be informed of the Department of Administration’s ruling on May 10th. Officials say they will give all parties a day or two to acknowledge their decision and will then post an announcement at www.doa.wi.gov/municipalboundaryreview or those interested can call 608-264-6102.