Town of Beloit ready to submit incorporation petition

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TOWN OF BELOIT - Town officials will submit an incorporation petition this month, meaning it's still possible the incorporation process could be completed by the end of 2018.

Approximately 200 east side residents signed the petition saying they would approve the town incorporating into a village. The town needed at least 50 signatures to turn into the circuit court to move forward with incorporation.

Town Administrator Ian Haas said based on current projections it's possible the Town of Beloit could be incorporated into a village by the end of next year. The town will submit the incorporation petition to the court in October, and Haas expects the court to certify the petition meets the needed criteria in December. The town will likely submit its formal incorporation application to the Department of Administration around December or January. The Department of Administration then has a six-month review period. If the application is approved, residents then would have to approve incorporation via a referendum.

Haas said a referendum could be on the ballot during a primary election in August or November's general election.

"We don't have an aggressive timeline to submit these time applications," Haas said, noting the extensive documents needed for the application.

Before submitting the application, Haas said the town's incorporation attorney Stan Riffle and the west side committee's attorney Al Reuter are working on updating the potential services contract between the remnant town and new village.

If the town were to incorporate, the land on the east side of Afton Road would become a village and the land to the west would stay a remnant town. Only residents who live in the land to be incorporated could sign the petition and vote in a referendum that would be needed for the town to be incorporated into a village.

The West Side Committee is comprised of 10 citizens seeking to understand more of how the west side of the township could be impacted by incorporation. The town board approved Reuter to represent the board as legal counsel.

The current town board is attempting to add a service agreement between the new village and remnant town that would be contingent on the circuit court and Department of Administration approving the incorporation itself. This would make the services agreement legally binding.

"We're trying to do everything we possibly can to make sure the west side is protected," Haas said.

Reuter said back in September that such an agreement has never been attempted, but he liked the odds of it being passed by the court or review board.

It is possible for the remnant town and new village to consolidate into a village. The first option is for the Town of Beloit to have boundary agreements with all neighboring municipalities, including the City of Beloit. However, negotiations between the town and city have not been productive.

The other option for reconciliation is annexation. This can be done either through a direct annexation, or through a vote or by annexing small portions of land at a time, or by referendum. In this scenario the City of Beloit has the same rights to potentially annex the remnant town.

As for the name of the new potential village, Haas said the village will have a name by the time the town submits its formal application, so likely by the end of the year.

Haas already conducted one survey for a name of the new potential village, and he's set to release another survey in the coming months to help the Town Board select the name of the new village from the four most popular names. There were 15 names proposed by the 260 respondents. The top four were River Oaks with 73 votes, Turner with 60 votes, North Beloit with 40 votes and Riverside, a write-in, with 39 votes.

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