Salem to proceed with incorporation referendum

The Salem Town Board will proceed with a referendum in September to gauge residents interest in investigating incorporation as a village.

The board held a special meeting Monday morning to had out language for the question. The language worked out Monday reads:

This is a non-binding referendum that is for advisory purposes only.


A yes vote instructs will allow the Town Board to proceed with investigating the process of incorporation as a village and establish a timetable to determine if it is in the Town’s best interest to begin the incorporation process.

A no vote will instruct the Town Board not to proceed with investigating the process of incorporation as a village at this time.

The board discussed but did not act on a follow-up referendum in November.

This meeting is still underway at 10:05 a.m. More coverage to come.



  1. Chris Gustafson says:

    I do NOT see municipal incorporation of this town being of any benefit to the the one in eight foreclosed mortgagees and one in fourteen unemployed taxpayers in ZIP code 53179.

    Large land owners desiring higher dwelling densities per acre will gain the most by incorporation and the ones village borders absent boundary agreements with the town poise the greatest annexation threat and thus potential to burden the remaining taxbase with paying off town debt, operating and maintenance service expenses.

    I know this is not an attempt to incorporate a portion of the Town of Salem, but still, doesn’t current state municipal incorporation law require parties who are interested in pursuing municipal incorporation to sign and submit a petion of intent with the WI-Dept. of Revenue and to also pay for the necessary supporting documentation necessary for that state department’s review and approval to proceed?

    So why are we , the average town taxpayers, being asked to foot the cost of investigating this matter further?

    Isn’t this an attempt to skirt current law that begs a court challenge?

  2. Chris Gustafson says:

    The following is from the “Handbook for Municipal Officials” at…

    Page 16/33 states in part…
    …As a respected observer of local government in Wisconsin once noted, “long standing practice defines cities and villages as ‘full’ or ‘true’ municipal corporations and distinguishes them from partial or quasi-municipal corporations such as counties and towns.” Donoghue, “Local Government in Wisconsin,” 1979-80 Wisconsin Blue Book. Cities and villages in Wisconsin are different from other general-purpose units of local government such as towns and counties because they possess more power to govern themselves in local matters without state interference. That is, cities and villages are granted broad authority under the Wisconsin constitution and statutes to govern themselves locally. The term used to describe this grant of authority to cities and villages is “home rule.” Also, cities and villages, unlike
    towns and counties, can expand their boundaries through the annexation of unincorporated territory. A few other significant differences between incorporated municipalities and towns include:
    1. cities and villages can create tax incremental finance districts while towns lack such authority; and
    2 citizens in cities and villages can initiate ordinances and resolutions through the direct legislation process while citizens in towns lack such powers…..

    From page 23/33….
    One exception to the general incorporation procedure for creating new cities and villages is found in sec. 66.0215, Stats. This law, which was created in 1955, is commonly referred to as the “Oak Creek law” because it was successfully utilized shortly after its enactment to incorporate the City of Oak Creek in Milwaukee County. City of Milwaukee v. Town of Oak Creek, 8
    Wis.2d 102, 98 N.W.2d 469 (1959). Incorporation of a city under the Oak Creek law requires a town population exceeding 5,000, an equalized valuation in excess of $20 million, location adjacent to a first class city, a petition of elector-taxpayers and owners of real estate and a successful
    referendum. Because of its specific requirements, the Oak Creek law has limited applicability.

    From page 22/33…

    Current procedures for the incorporation of new cities and villages out of town territory are found in secs. 66.0201 through 66.0213, Stats.The incorporation process is commenced by publishing a Notice of Intent to Circulate an Incorporation Petition as a class 1 notice within the county in which the territory involved is located. Sec. 66.0203(1), Stats. Circulation of the petition for incorporation must begin not less than ten days nor more than twenty days after the date notice of intent to circulate is published. Sec. 66.0203(2)(f), Stats. The petition for incorporation must be in writing and signed by fifty or more persons who are both electors and freeholders (i.e., landowners) in the territory to be incorporated. If the population of the
    proposed village or city is less than 300, then the petition need only be signed by twenty-five or more electors and freeholders. Sec. 66.0203(2)(a), Stats. The petition must be filed with the circuit court of the county in which all or a major part of the territory to be incorporated is located within six months of the date the notice of intent to circulate is published. Sec.
    66.0203(2)(b), Stats. Upon the filing of the petition, the court schedules a hearing on the incorporation petition. Notice of the filing of the petition and of the hearing must be published as a class 2 notice in the territory to be incorporated. Notice must also be given by certified or registered
    mail to the clerk of each “metropolitan municipality” of “the metropolitan community” in which the territory is located. Any municipality entitled to the above notice and any other person found by the court to be a party in interest may become a party to the proceeding. Also, any municipality with boundaries contiguous to the territory proposed for incorporation may file with the circuit court a copy of a resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of the elected members of the governing body indicating a willingness to annex the territory designated in the incorporation petition. Sec. 66.0203(6), Stats.
    After the circuit court holds a hearing on the petition, it must determine whether the standards under sec. 66.0205, Stats., are met. If the court finds that the standards are not met, the petition is dismissed. If the court finds that the standards are met, the petition is referred to the Department of Administration. Sec. 66.0203(8), Stats. The department must then determine whether the petition meets the standards set forth in secs. 66.0207, 66.0205 and 66.0217(6), Stats. Any party in interest may request that the
    department hold a hearing on the petition. The determination of the department must be to:
    1. dismiss the petition;
    2. grant the petition; or
    3. dismiss the petition with a recommendation that a new petition be submitted to include more or less territory as specified in the department’s findings and determinations. Sec. 66.0203(9), Stats. If the petition is dismissed without a recommendation that a new petition be submitted,
    no petition for the incorporation of the same territory may be entertained for one year following the date of the denial. Sec. 66.0204(9)(h), Stats. If the petition is granted, the circuit court must order that an incorporation referendum be held under sec. 66.0211, Stats., in the territory proposed for incorporation. If a majority of the votes in an incorporation referendum
    are cast in favor of a city or village, a new city or village is created.

  3. Dr. Brad Smith says:

    I want to thank Chris Gustafson for all of her tenacious research on this matter, as shared in this forum and elsewhere.

    I believe that Ms. Gustafson’s thorough research should be sufficient for the Salem town board to decide NOT to pursue the incorporation path.

    I agree with Ms. Gustafson’s first post. Further, I believe that Village status for Salem will not be an advantage for ANY town taxpayer at this time. While precise financial details cannot be calculated, I do believe that citizens in villages pay much higher taxes than those in townships.

    A few years ago I actually got a written statement from the Village of Paddock Lake documenting what our family’s real estate taxes would be had we been part of the Village instead of Salem. Our taxes on five parcels would have been collectively SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS HIGHER had we been part of the Village of Paddock Lake. Our real estate is in that part of Salem that is destined to become a part of the Village of Paddock Lake. (Boundary Agreement between Salem and Paddock Lake– which a future Village of Salem entity would have to honor as Bristol had to with Pleasant Prairie and the City of Kenosha.)

    Another crucial observation is the fact that the DEPRESSION that I personally believe that we are in will only worsen before a “true bottom” even hits. In the meantime there is no meaningful development occurring in Salem or huge influx of new residents to even justify Village status for the town.

    I’ve heard some proponents of Village status expound on the notion that the adjoining villages’ extraterritorial jurisdiction is akin to “taxation without representation”. When was the last time that such a power was a fatal concern to any resident of Salem?

    ACTUALLY TURNED OUT TO BE A CURSE FOR THE VILLAGE’S BELEAGUERED TAXPAYERS! Just ask the Village’s officials who got stuck for the initial service infrastructure that the Village provided to certain of these developers; all of whom, I believe, are now bankrupt!

    So I will VOTE AGAINST ANY INCORPORATION EFFORTS. Advisory or otherwise.

    Our fractious town board and its increasingly red-faced town administrator would do well to figure out HOW TO REDUCE THE TOWN PORTION of our property taxes rather than to implement more tax-raising projects.

    Salem’s taxpayers should be grateful that we “dodged the bullet” on those “missed opportunities”. (That is, those developers who annexed into the Village of Paddock Lake.)


    Furthermore, Salem is threatened by NO ONE. The previously-mentioned boundary agreement between Salem and Paddock Lake ended that “annexation war”. Bristol has no designs on Salem, nor does Silver Lake. SO THE “THREAT” OF WHAT FACED BRISTOL DOES NOT APPLY TO SALEM. (I actually agreed with those who moved to create the Village of Bristol because they had very real annexation issues with both Pleasant Prairie and the City of Kenosha.)

    Thank you.

  4. Jim Valentine says:

    It appears to me that Ms. Gustafson and Dr. Smith are confusing the matter.

    Neither of these individuals attended the Town Hall Meeting where the referendum was discussed and Ms. Gustafson posted both of her messages before the referendum was officially release.

    All the Town Board is asking is, do you want the Town Board to research the advantages and disadvantages of Salem working towards Village status?

    That’s it. They want to know what your feelings are regarding doing research. The question is do you want to gain knowledge. Do you want to learn more.

    Ms Gustafson seems to dwell on what the steps are to attain Village status. That is for another day.

    I am not surprised by Ms Gustafson’s missing the point and rambling on about other things. She is prone to do that.

    But I am surprised that Dr. Smith, a man who I have found continually seeks knowledge, is not interested in gaining knowledge now. He has already made up his mind without the facts.

    The time to vote to proceed for Village status is down the road.

    Dr Smith says our taxes will go up if we become a Village. But he does not explain how or why. We do not need this type of rhetoric. If he wants to state our taxes will go up, he needs to explain why. Yelling “fire” in a theater is only going to cause chaos and confusion.

    Please read the referendum and come to your own conclusions.

    Please do not be mis-led by their tactics to confuse you.

    I, myself, have not made up my mind. I need more information. And I am looking forward to getting it. I hope you agree.

    Thank you,


  5. Chris Gustafson says:

    Mr. Valentine is correct stating that I:
    1.) did not attend the 9 a.m. Town of Salem Board’s Special Meeting…
    2.) posted a message here in westofthi, BEFORE the resolution wording for the NON-BINDING referendum was released…
    3.) that I’ve dwelled on the steps to attain village status…
    4.) that “those steps” are for another day…
    5.) I missed the point, now that I’ve read the Resoultion itself…
    6.) that I ramble on about other things and am prone to doing so.

    I also want to apologize here on westofthei for implying anyone MIGHT have less-than-honorable intentions, and for the my use of the word “could” as some MAY interpret it to mean “would” in the context of which I used those words.

    Now that I’ve READ THE WORDS of Resolution No. 10-07-19 pertaining to
    the NON-BINDING referendum on this “SEPTEMBER, 2010 PRIMARY BALLOT”
    I am in FAVOR of the Town of Salem proceeding with investigating THE

    A.) I am definitely in favor of my community obtaining revenues from the State of Wisconsin which my community does not qualify for as a town…
    B.) I want Kenosha County Planning & Zoning to stop approving permits for what OUR Town committees and board of whole DISAPPROVES…
    C.) I WANT STOPPED the gnawing-away of my Town by Villages…
    D.) I want a Tax Incremental Finance District as originally intented, “to help redevelopment blighted urban areas,” clean & safe for human & ecological health and wellfare, and including our community’s economic advantage.

    I did attend the town meeting were there was brainstorming on the pros of being a village verses being a town, I failed to come up with enough pros of being a town by comparison, especially when viewed as what is best for the public interest in the LONG-TERM. I guess I just proved, “you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.”

  6. Chris Gustafson says:

    Oh, and one other thing…RESOLUTION NO. 10-07-19 states that, “a yes vote will allow the Town Board of Salem to proceed with INVESTIGATING the PROCESS of incorporation as a village and ESTABLISH A TIME TABLE to determine IF it is in the TOWN”S BEST INTEREST to begin the incorporation process as a village.” SALEM IS NOT “Proceeding with an Incorporation Referendum” as the header for this online local news article states and sorry Mr. Hillock, but I just had to mentioned that since we’re all being so defensive here about this topic.

  7. Salem Resident says:

    Dear Salem Neighbor,

    Did you know that Salem is having a special referendum vote on the September 14th ballot regarding whether the Town of Salem should begin exploring incorporating into a Village? Is this good or bad? You can bet your vote will directly impact your property tax!

    Why would a Town want to incorporate to Village status? The most notable reason is to protect its geographical boundaries (i.e. tax base) from being annexed into a neighboring municipality. However, the same boundary protection can be afforded through the use of boundary agreements. For information, visit the Wisconsin Towns Association website Salem already has boundary agreements with some neighboring municipalities. So, if our borders can be protected using boundary agreements, what benefit is derived from incorporating into a Village? Salem has one of the lowest MIL rates in the area! How long will that last? Likewise, wouldn’t our property taxes also increase to support a Village government?

    The process to incorporate into a Village is costly and must be approved by the circuit court. The Incorporation Review Board fee alone costs $25,000.00! Pursuant to statute, the court considers many things, including natural physical boundaries and political boundaries. What happens to my neighborhood that’s separated from Salem by the Fox River and Silver Lake municipality? Will we be annexed?

    In these economic times, we should know how incorporating into a Village will benefit residents BEFORE even one penny is spent to explore this endeavor. There should be a grassroots effort on part of residents to educate themselves so we can make an informed decision. We DO NOT WANT to listen to squabbling verbal volleyball. WE WANT FACTS. I will be following this and trying to determine how the town will keep our property taxes down and will vote accordingly. And yes, my feathers become ruffled when I read the words “urgency” and “timeline” because it would seem prudent to proceed with caution. I don’t want Salem to grow….I moved here because I like the open green areas and prefer to keep the landscape that currently exists. Bottom line: residents are concerned about how becoming a Village is going to affect that property tax bill that comes every year. Our population is spread out over a large area and that is the appeal this area offers to residents. If progress equates to development of the area, then I choose to vote NO. I cannot discern any one valid reason why incorporating into a Village will make my life better living here. What I can discern is that it will make my property tax bill inflate. There are areas throughout the country that were once nice communities that have turned into foreclosure ghost towns and that is what should be avoided here. This whole thing reminds me of a joke that I received in email a few years back about progress: There was an executive from a developer firm in New York that went vacationing to a beautiful pristine beach in Mexico. The executive was so moved by the beauty of the beach and land, he envisioned luxurious hotels and restaurants along the shoreline looking out onto the ocean. The executive met the owner of the land and beach, and to his surprise the owner was a simple man with a simple life. The executive told the owner of his plan and how he could make the simple man extremely rich by developing the land and beach….[a lot of jumping through hoops/redtape]…After telling the simple man of all the ways he could make him rich, he ended the speech by saying “and one day you will be able to sit back and look at this and say it’s all yours!” The simple man replied by saying “I do that already.” Get the idea.

    The previous post states that neighboring villages are gnawing away at our town? Really? How? Previous post also states that if we were a village we could set up TIF districts to help redevelop blighted urban areas, clean & safe for human & ecological health and wellfare, and including our community’s economic advantage.

    Here’s a definition of TIF districts: TIF is a tool to use future gains in taxes to finance current improvements (which theoretically will create the conditions for those future gains). When a public project such as a road, school, or hazardous waste cleanup is carried out, there is often an increase in the value of surrounding real estate, and perhaps new investment (new or rehabilitated buildings, for example).

    This increased site value and investment sometimes generates increased tax revenues. The increased tax revenues are the “tax increment.” Tax Increment Financing dedicates tax increments within a certain defined district to finance debt issued to pay for the project. TIF is designed to channel funding toward improvements in distressed or underdeveloped areas where development might not otherwise occur. TIF creates funding for “public” projects that may otherwise be unaffordable to localities, by borrowing against future property tax revenues.

    Currently, thousands of TIF districts operate nationwide in the US, from small and mid-sized cities, to the State of California, which invented tax increment financing in 1952. California maintains over four hundred TIF districts with an aggregate of over $10 billion per year in revenues, over $28 billion of long-term debt, and over $674 billion of assessed land valuation (2008 figures).

    This tells me that we will be borrowing on the future through taxation to do projects now. NO THANKS! The federal government has depleted the value of our dollar by constantly borrowing on the FUTURE. The stock market is “whacked” from betting on the future. What in the heck is the matter with “paying as you go”? If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. Isn’t that the lesson we’re supposed to be learning from what’s going on in our country (as a matter of fact throughout the world economy)?! I’m not convinced Salem should incorporate into a Village. And, by the way, Salem doesn’t have any urban areas within its borders to redevelop. If the town doesn’t have money for a project, then it shouldn’t be done. TIF’s are a way to borrow from the future; like using a credit card. Eventually, the bill comes due. Who’ll pay for this? The taxpayers! Wake up residents! And yes, becoming a Village will make Salem eligible for more govt. subsidies and grants. However, Salem will then pay a bigger chunk of change to the state. All the knowledge in the world will do you no good if you don’t have common sense! I also realize this referendum is to “explore” the process of becoming a Village, but cannot understand why, knowing all of the above, it is even up for consideration!


    Sign up for updates at

  8. valentine says:

    Dear Salem Resident (aw, com’on, give up a real name…)

    In roughly 15 years, the Village of Paddock Lake will take from the Town of Salem, by contract, 785 acres of lands that currently are valued and impact the mil rate of the town.

    Those acres, based on a simple and conservative rate of 2 houses per acre at $200,000 each when built out will represent a very conservative assessed value of $314,000,000. 00. I think that is a pretty impressive figure contributing to the reduction of the mil rate that determine my taxes. If you are concerned that the properties are not yet developed and what that affect would be, then continue reading…

    The $314,million dollars is the value that would have been used to reduce the mil rate that the balance of the town will pay when those houses are built. Now, without that value, the town will divide the assessed value of the remaining smaller amount of properties into the budget amount and will arrive at a higher mil rate, which in turn will reflect an increase in your taxes. It will happen.
    The contract is signed.
    The date established.
    It will happen.

    To do a rough estimate of the value of the 785 acre without houses, use the AG value of $336,000 for the 121 acres of Fox Hollow that is already part of Village of Paddock Lake. This has already been added to the VofPaddock Lake calculations and removed from our calculations to reach the mil rate. Using just a conservative 6 times the 785 acres as if there were no development on the parcels, you would be removing an assessed value of $2,352,000 from the equation. Over 2 million dollars.

    Any loss, even 100 acres will have a negative impact on the amount of tax you pay because the mil rate will go up.

    In these instances, the town would have lost something (land and homes and businesses) AND will continue to pay for the loss in higher taxes for our taxpayers every year forward. EVERY YEAR FORWARD!

    The amount in ONE YEAR for 121 acres in the Fox Hollow illustration would have paid for the estimated $200,000 legal fees for this incorporation effort. And in the end, we would still have the lands and the roughly $48,400,00.00 value to reduce the mil rate when the property is developed.

    (I have considered the offset for infrastructure, common lands and unbuildable lands by using the 2 houses per acre instead of 3 or 4.The figures are very conservative. Average houses are given a value of $223,000 houses alone, not land value. I havent considered land value at all in the analysis. Again, another reflection of a conservative calculation.)

    It is very clear that a Village annexing our town property is a way to reduce their taxes for their taxpayers and the tax reduction for their residents will occur quicker if they can get those properties developed. The very actions to help their taxpayers will have an opposite affect on the town’s taxpayers.

    What we as a town unit should be doing is preventing anything close to this land loss from happening again!

    Yes, the TIF information can be found at the Department of Revenue site, nearly as exact as has been quoted by the Salem Resident. go here:

    What isnt said is that as a TOWN, the option is not afforded to us at all. And also not stated is the fact that it does not have to be used. It could. It does not have to be used.

    I do not understand how Salem will “THEN PAY A BIGGER CHUNK OF CHANGE TO THE STATE.” Please illustrate this.

    Regarding the ruralness of our area. A good portion of the rural area is rural because our farms have not been sold for development. However, development is not really controlled by planning and zoning of the town. It is controlled by the County. The town agreed to allow the County to be their P&Z. We do preliminary work but are still subject to COunty Rules and Regs. County looks at development as sterile. treeless, ease of maintenance, progress. They do what has become the measure of success – develop from a sterile base. It is the way of progress. It does not HAVE to be that way.

    As a Village we could make our ruralness a continued requirement. Ruralness as a mark of balanced Success! We could protect our Hamlets of history and the country roads by protecting those hedgerow trees and limiting the impact on development on the roadways side of the treelines. Let the developments inside those hedgerows be whatever the builder wishes, but let those who drive those roads see the flavor of what brought us here and kept us here…The way to do it is to become a village to set our own P&Z rules and regs.

    What is true is that while a town, Salem will not get any pennies, not a nickel, not a dime, as part of revenue sharing. We never have. The amount that we could expect is guarded tho Department of Revenue has been asked for the data.

    Our borders are not safe.
    You and others have already forgotten about the Paddock Lake Contract as I have illustrated above.
    You get nothing by sitting on your hands and being unprepared.
    What is very important, is that voters know who they are electing, what they think of develpment, how prepared they are at meetings or how their thought processes are for decision making. As a town or a village, decisions are made by the people elected. It is very important that voters know the people they elect to represent them.

    Readers should be very concerned about anyone not willing to sign their real name. Real names give more value to the commentary.

    Readers who wish to talk about this are welcome to call me. Find the number and the contact information on the website. I am VERY available.

  9. valentine says:

    Town Budget $
    Divided by the
    Overall assessed value of the town (mfg and residential) $
    Equals the mil rate.

    The mil rate gets multiplied by the assessed value of your individual home (whose value helped create that overall assesed value of the town)
    To arrive at
    your tax for the town portion of your tax bill.

    The bigger the town assessed values, the smaller the mil rate.
    The smaller the mil rate, the higher the tax.

    If the town assessed values go down, the higher the mil rate will be.

  10. Jim Valentine says:


    What Linda is trying to say is that Paddock Lake has expenses. These expenses are paid by the taxpayers. When they annex the 785 acres from us there expenses will stay the same and they will get the taxes from the 785 acres. This will lower the taxes for the residents of Paddock Lake.

    Because we are losing taxpayers our taxes will go up.

    We do not have land agreements with all of the municipalities around us. Others can grab more land and our taxes will go up.

    Now the County can tell us what to build and where. If we beome a Village they can’t do that anymore. If we want to stay rural that will be up to the elected officials of Salem.

    If we are a Village some of the Sales Tax generated in our town will come back into our Village. As a Town we don’t get any of that.

    If you vote No to this referendum it says you do not want to gain knowledge. It says that you want to live in a vacuum while people around you become smarter. It says you want to stay dumb.

    This vote is a no-brainer, vote Yes. The next vote is the vote that will require some thinking.


  11. Chris Gustafson says:

    “What is Incorporation?” SEE what the Wisconsin Department of Administration website says at…

    Would the town be required to provide law enforcement services 24 hours a day if incorporated or is our public safety officer and public safety ordinance sufficent?

    One way to find answers for the most elector’s benefit is to give the board permission to seek them.

  12. Jim Valentine says:

    Hi Chris,

    Good Question. (I guess it is always a good question when you didn’t think of it and you don’t know the answer.)

    That is something we need to know. How many Public Safety Officers do we have now and what hours do they work? I think we have 3 or 4. Maybe that would be enough.

    I look forward to getting an answer to that.


  13. Chris Gustafson says:

    Your correct again Jim, I did not think of the question (but did hear this discussed in the flesh at some of this year’s town meetings & a town workshop not so long ago).

    As Wisconsin villages MUST provide police protection services, I searched online in an attempt to find “minimum WI village police protection service standards” if any. I did not find any yet, but something the following is easy to read from…

    “….Cities with populations of 4,000 or more must establish a police and fire commission. Sec. 62.13(2), Stats. Nothing in the state statutes requires cities to provide police or fire protection services. Villages over a certain population are, on the other hand, mandated to provide police and fire protection services. Villages with a population of 5,000 or more must provide police protection services by creating their own department, contracting for those services with another local governmental entity, or by creating a joint department with another city, town or village. Sec. 61.65(l)(a), Stats. Villages with a population of 5,500 or more must provide fire protection services by any of the three permissible techniques available for the provision of police services or by using a fire company organized under ch. 213, Stats. Sec. 61.65(2)(a), Stats. Each village with a population of 5,000 or more that creates a joint police department must create a joint board of police commissioners to govern the department. Similarly, each village whose population exceeds 5,500 that creates its own police department or a joint police department with another municipality must create its own or a joint board of police commissioners to govern the department…”

    Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told me outside of one of the town meetings he recently attended with Asst. DA Ginkowski & Rep. Samantha Kerkman, that he’d be happy to speak with anyone who wants to call him about what the true costs are of contracting such services from his department. He suggested that it could be on a limited four-hour per day basis, or a shared basis with another neighboring municipality who is already contracting services from Sheriff Beth’s department. What Sheriff Beth did explain in terms of costs, was far, far less than the $300,000 Supervisor O’Connell mentioned at another town meeting that I also attended.

    Sheriff Beth said the total the salary of the highest, medium, and lowest paid deputy is divided by 3 for an average hourly cost, and then charge of mere cents per mile is added and nothing else, no administrative costs, etc. Its that simple.

    I’m not complaining about our town public safety, seems to be darn good right now, but thought people might like to know.

    If enough of the town’s electorate does provide a majority of “yes” votes on Sept. 14th to the non-binding referendum, maybe electors can then see if the town can get from a state authority in writing, what the definition is of an acceptable minimum level of police protection services are that is required of villages in Wisconsin. Then that issue can be put rest.

    Lastly, I do want to thank you, Jim & Linda, for simplifying what a mil rate is, how it affects what we pay in town property taxes now and in the future, and how important it is to include when looking into the benefits of village status.
    The reccession-wary hope what is learned by this process can be banked someway, somehow, and soon!

  14. Salem Resident says:

    Thank you for your postings and to for providing a forum for local happenings. My name is NOT important; the issue of the upcoming referendum regarding Salem possibly incorporating into a Village is.

    Previous posting states that in roughly 15 years, the Village of Paddock Lake will take from the town of Salem, by contract, 785 acres of land that currently are valued and impact the mil rate of the town. Please explain why such a contract exists? I did not forget about this; I didn’t know. I am puzzled because boundary agreements are made to prevent this from happening.

    Here is my interpretation of the scenario from previous postings. The town board’s thinking is that incorporating Salem into a Village will:
    (1) prevent further loss of land (i.e. tax base) due to annexation, and
    (2) allow Salem to develop land within its borders (via TIF districts) to hopefully grow its tax base, thereby offsetting what is destined to be annexed into Paddock Lake.
    Is this an accurate understanding?

    Is the referendum to “explore” incorporation to Village status being put on the ballot to justify the cost of putting information in print and disseminating same to residents? Communication between the board and residents is crucial in order for Salem to take the appropriate action. This should have been communicated in the Salem Dispatch. There was information on how to cast your ballot in the upcoming the partisan primary election, but nothing about the referendum.

    This new information changes my vote to yes to “explore” Salem incorporating into a village. Still, all things considered at this juncture, I am not convinced that creating TIF districts is a good idea. Taking on more debt could be detrimental since economic conditions are expected to continue for some time. Therefore, it is not likely that Salem will gain meaningful population growth to increase its tax base. Alternatively, bringing more industry into Salem would greatly help build the tax base. How could Salem make it attractive for industries have their business here? This would take careful zoning/planning to preserve the landscape of Salem for future generations. But, it is doable.

    I will vote “yes” to “explore” incorporating into a Village. Beyond that, a determination cannot be made until the information and options are evaluated. I would anticipate that whichever way this goes, the primary focus will be to keep property taxes low.

  15. Chris Gustafson says:

    People with bad experiences of paternalistic government programs tend to be less likely to engage in civic and political engagement. SEE…

    Basically, the study sited above infers, “if you’ve been turned-down for government help because some “official” said you didn’t do enough, you’re most likely NOT to vote.

    Is there a State of Wisconsin Department of Administration Incorporation Review Board, “Standard for Village Police Protection Services”? Maybe NOT.

    SEE… “

    Does the Town of Salem “meet the housing unit density standard”? ….”The territory beyond the most densely populated one-half square mile specified in s. 66.015(1)… shall have an average of more than 30 housing units per quarter section or an assessed value, as defined in s. 66.021(1)(a) for real estate tax purposes, more than 25% of which is attributable to existing or potential mercantile, manufacturing or public utility uses… The Board may waive these requirements to the extent that water, terrain or geography prevents the development.”

    Again SEE…

    The WI-DOA approval and disapproval of towns being incorporating into villages may be “biased” by a gaping LEEWAY in state law and a LACK of established standards.

  16. Chris Gustafson says:

    What are the potential benefits and risks associated with TIF?

    What is the definition of a blight?

    What else beside revitalization of “blighted areas” can cities and villages in Wisconsin use TIF for?

    To find out read this 8-page 2005 UW-EX Fact Sheet available at…

    It explains, “The purpose of this fact sheet is to help elected and appointed local government officials and economic development professionals better understand one economic development tool, tax incremental financing. Tax incremental finance is a financial tool that can be used to promote tax base expansion and job creation. It is targeted toward geographic areas that have become blighted, or are in need of rehabilitation or conservation work, or to promote industrial development or “mixeduse” development in areas which are
    experiencing declining value…. Keep in mind that TIF is a solution to encourage development in blighted areas-those that are otherwise unlikely to develop/redevelop. The Tax Incremental Law, 66.1105 describes blighted area to mean any of the following:

    a. An area, including a slum area, in which the structures, buildings or improvements, which by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, age or obsolescence, inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation, or open spaces, high density of
    population and overcrowding, or the existence of condition which endanger life or property by fire and other causes, or any combination of these factors is conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency, or crime, and is detrimental to the public health, safety, morals or welfare.

    b. An area which is predominantly open and which consists primarily of an abandoned highway corridor (blight elimination and slum clearance), as defined in s. 66.1333 (2m) (a) or that consists of land upon which buildings or deterioration of structures or of site improvements, or otherwise, substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the community.

    Blighted area does not include:
    Predominantly open land area that has been developed only for agricultural purposes, commonly called “Greenfield” development….”

  17. Chris Gustafson says:

    SEE also, “Developer-Funded Tax Incremental Financing:Promoting Development Without Breaking the Bank, ” as it appears in the trade-marked publication, “Wisconsin Lawer,” Vol. 79, No. 5, May 2006 available at…

  18. Chris Gustafson says:

    Question about what the second-half of a yes vote means: What method of “Financial Impact Analysis” will the Town of Salem Board as a whole use to most accurately … determine if it is in the Town’s best interest to begin the incorporation process as a village? Assumptions inherent in each possible method that can or might be used can influence the results of the analysis.

  19. valentine says:

    All of the recent issuues discussed by CG have been addressed on .

    In almost all cases, the effort and COST to investigate the questions posed are EXACTLY why we want to have the electors make a decision to spend the money required to pursue the EXPLORATION and GATHERING.

    Readers must realize that there is only a SINGLE question. There is not FIrst part, second part as is bening asked on the different forums and in emails. There isnt a yes explanation or a No explanation. The ballot will show the question only about exploration and gathering.

    The resolution to place the question on the ballot should NOT be confused with the ballot itself.

    Readers should read the flyer AND the data sheet and with that information make a decision not to be a village but to explore and gather info about being a village.
    This is a conservative and prudent step that we are asking the electors to consider. It is a non-binging question and will basicall serve to answer the important question – WHAT do the electors think about the question.


  20. taxpayer says:

    The Town’s taxes will REALLY go up if the referendum passes. Not only with the taxpayers be responsible for village style taxes, but, they’ll also have to pay the town’s share of a lawsuit that Ms. Valentine has caused.

  • Follow us on

  • Archives