Appeals Court Reverses Kekoskee/Williamstown Merger Plan

(Dodge County) A Wisconsin Appeals Court ruled Thursday to reverse the state’s decision to allow for the merger of two municipalities that neighbor the City of Mayville. The Wisconsin Department of Administration accepted the merger request between the Town of Williamstown and the Village of Kekoskee nearly two years ago.

The entity would have been named the Village of Williamstown, giving the area ‘home rule.’ That means the new village would have been equal to the city of Mayville when it comes to, among other things, annexing land. City officials in Mayville appealed the state’s decision, saying the move would stunt the city’s growth and affect other areas such as school district population and transportation.

In the court’s ruling, it says the merger plan was wrongly approved as it violated state statute which does not allow a village to absorb an entire township. The ruling also states that Mayville was treated unfairly by the state’s decision because it violated their statutory right to be made a party to the plan. According to state statutes, a municipality whose boundary is changed or maintained by a cooperative plan must be included.

Mayville Mayor Rob Boelk says he is happy with the decision and adds that the township was overstepping their authority. Kekoskee Village President Donald Hilgendorf says the court’s decision is disappointing but notes they will continue to operate as a village for now. He says they are reviewing their options – which includes taking the matter to the state Supreme Court – and will be discussing next steps in the coming weeks.

Click to read the court’s full decision