Town fires back over city stand

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TOWN OF BELOIT - Town officials are firing back at the City of Beloit after the city council offered town residents an annexation option rather than incorporation into a village.

Last week the Beloit City Council voted to offer residents this "alternative to incorporation" after the township kicked off a public petition for incorporation.

Town Administrator Ian Haas, in a news release this morning, said "the Town of Beloit is no longer to be seen as the 'future expansion area' of the City of Beloit. The press release recently distributed by the City of Beloit and the comments made by City Manager, Lori Luther, are unfortunate, misleading and incorrect."

The release states the town does not wish to have an adversarial relationship with the city.

"We continue this stance and are disappointed that City Leadership has taken this position and begun a negative campaign," Haas wrote. "The Town of Beloit will no longer be bullied and no amount of misinformation or politically-charged rhetoric from the City of Beloit will change that fact."

The city's resolution stated "it is in the best interests of the metropolitan community that the area proposed for incorporation be considered for annexation to the City of Beloit rather than be incorporated as a separate municipality."

City Manager Luther said last week any annexations would occur only by request.

If the town were to incorporate, the land to the east of Afton Road would become a village while the land west of Afton Road would remain a remnant town. The town's incorporation attorney Stan Riffle has previously stated that only a part of the town may be incorporated, because the law says the potential incorporated land must be developed or will be developed within two years.

Town officials have previously said they favor incorporation to net a larger portion of revenue from the Alliant Energy plant.

If the town were incorporated into a village, the town would net 66 percent of the utility subsidies as opposed to the 33 percent currently sent to the township, swapping the current county and township rates. Once the Riverside plant is finished and operational, the township could see $1.2 million in utility aid, up from $700,000.

The increase in funds could result in a 33 percent boost to the township's overall operating budget.

The city contends the revenue shift would "severely restrict" the county's available resources to provide human and public safety services.

In today's news release, Haas condemns the city's position, calling it "distortions and fabrications communicated by Ms. Luther and the City Council."

He asks any interested parties to reach out to town staff to find out the "correct information."

"The Town will not, however, engage in any media battle in which we would be forced to make attacks against a neighboring community," Haas said. "The Citizens and Staff of the City of Beloit deserve better."

During boundary agreement negotiations, the city originally asked for consolidated fire and police departments, which the town denied. Luther previously said incorporation would make "costly and inefficient duplication of service that already exists."

Haas said the township is its own community with its own services.

"We are, and by right ought to be, our own incorporated municipality with all the legal protections and advantages afforded that designation," Haas said.

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