Silver Lake agrees to join Fox River commission

sewfrc-logo-webThe Silver Lake Village Board last week agreed to a memo of understanding that could bring the village into the Southeastern Wisconsin Fox River Commission.

Current members of the commission are municipalities up river of Rochester. The commission has been signing on municipal members south of its current boundaries. The commission would like to have all municipalities down to the Illinois state line signed on to the agreement when it seeks an expansion of its boundaries from the state legislature. Being able to connect the commission with the Fox River Waterway in Illinois could open the group to receiving federal grants.

Salem, Wheatland and Kenosha County had earlier agreed to join the commission.

The river commission was created by the state legislature in 1997. It “has supported numerous projects within the planning area and has contributed approximately $1.25 million to projects that help improve the Illinois Fox River basin,” according to the agency’s website. Eligible activities include: Feasibility studies, construction projects, rehabilitation, navigation aids and channel dredging.

Silver Lake trustees had a couple of questions before the vote.

Trustee Chris Willkomm asked commission representative Thomas Slawski why Silver Lake would be considered when the Fox River “clearly lies within the town of Salem.”

But Slawski replied that the commission’s reading of maps of the river show portions of the west boundary of the village does abut the river.

Board members also wanted to be sure that joining the commission would involve no cost and that the commission could not become a taxing body.

Slawski explained the board’s funding for projects comes from grants. Typically, commission projects are paid for with a cost split of the commission paying 90 percent of the cost and the municipality where the project is located paying 10 percent.

Slawski also said the legislature created the commission with no taxing powers and it does not desire to acquire them. In fact, that likely would be contrary to the wishes of the commission members, who represent local municipalities.

The vote to approve the memo of understanding to join the commission was unanimous with Trustee Mike Decker absent.

With Silver Lake on board, the commission can now go to the state legislature for an expansion of its boundaries.




  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    Oh boy..sure hope this works out better for Silver Lake than our experience joining the “Library Commission”. Not to worry….Chris Willkomm will ask all the right questions! What a relief!

  2. to Bernard says:

    No kidding Bernard. I would hate to see Pat Dunn vote to approve something else before he read it! Hey-HO, Lame Duck Pat Dunn has got to go!

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