Kekoskee, Williamstown Submitting Third Merger Plan To State

(Williamstown) Officials with the Village of Kekoskee and the Town of Williamstown hope that a revised cooperative plan will finally get the state’s approval. The Department of Administration has so far rejected two previous versions of the plan that would see Kekoskee dissolve and join the unincorporated town of Williamstown. The entity would be renamed the village of Williamstown giving the area ‘home rule.’ That means the new village would be equal to the city of Mayville when it comes to, among other things, annexing land.

Village and Town Attorney Matt Parmentier says the most recent agreement was designed to give residents of the new village of Williamstown the ability to detach and join Mayville. Parmentier says it was drafted to allow unanimous consent, meaning the owner of every property that would be detached must give their approval. The concept was deemed a ‘future growth area’ around Mayville to allow the city to grow. Mayville officials have cited the original merger plan would freeze their borders, putting the city at the mercy of the new region for future development.

In response, the Department of Administration stated that there could be situations were an individual wishes to attach a large portion of land to the city and a single holdout could prevent that from happening. Parmentier says the state also found issue with the duration of time that the detachment period could occur. The proposal suggested letting it run through 2030 but state officials found that giving Mayville 12 years to double in size was unreasonable.

Following closed session discussions Thursday, town and village board members gave their approval to an updated merger plan that Parmentier says should address the state’s concerns. He says the revised plan changes unanimous consent required to detach land to a three-fourths majority as well as extends the “future growth area” to 100 years. Parmentier says it also allows both the new village of Williamstown and Mayville to re-negotiate the timeframe if an agreement is met. The state has 30 days to review the new proposal and decide if all requirements are met for both entities to merge.