Paris Town Board members on Monday praised an intergovernmental agreement with Kenosha regarding the annexation of up to 658 acres from the town into the city as a best possible situation considering the alternatives.
The Town Board approved the agreement two weeks ago.
Under the agreement, the town and the city have agreed that annexations will be limited to the agreed upon area for five years. The land is west of I-94 between Highway 142 and 38th Avenue. Some 350 acres of that land has already been identified by one business interested in annexation to Kenosha, said Elaine Sutton Ekes, an attorney who represented the town on the matter.
All the land within the identified area will not be automatically annexed within the five years. Further annexations will take place only at the request of property owners, Ekes said.
As a town, Paris is susceptible under state statutes to annexations by adjacent incorporated municipalities, in this case the city of Kenosha.
The town will share in some of the tax revenue generated by the annexed property even though it will not longer be in the town, Ekes said.
If the business seeking the initial annexation is developed, it could create 500 jobs, Ekes said. If that business does not locate here, the agreement will be void.
Town Board members all praised the work that went into the agreement by Ekes and attorney Timothy Pruitt and said the outcome of the large annexation would have been much worse for the town without the agreement.
Said Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt: “We got something when we could have got nothing.”
Said town Chairman Virgil Gentz: “ “I think it’s the best we could possibly ask for at this point in time … We did not ask the city to come into the town of Paris.”
Said Supervisor Ken Monson: “I think we did all right. I don’t think the city got all it wanted; we didn’t get all we wanted.”
But town officials also emphasized that the agreement has a very limited term and is not a long-term solution to the problem of losing territory to Kenosha. Only a formal boundary agreement would bring long-term stability to Paris’ boundaries.
“It’s a retreat for five years, it’s not a boundary agreement,” Kammerzelt said.
However, that reprieve should give the town additional time to plan for the future and perhaps develop a strategy for dealing with development and annexations along the developing I-94 corridor, Ekes said.