Petition for referendum on intergovernmental agreement rejected by Paris

A petition for a referendum on the intergovernmental agreement between Paris and Somers regarding land boundaries has been declared short of the needed signatures by Paris town Clerk Beverly McCumber.

The state statute says the signatures must come from “the electors residing within the territory whose jurisdiction is subject to change as a result of the agreement.”

The town and the people petitioning for the referendum have widely different opinions on who are those electors.

A certificate of insufficiency posted Friday over McCumber’s signature explains that the town contends state statutes would call for such a referendum to include the whole town. That would require 208 valid signatures or 20 percent of the town’s 1,037 electors.

Those seeking the referendum said in media reports that they felt the vote would only be among those in the area that would be transferred to Somers under the agreement, about 120 electors. McCumber found they had submitted 87 qualified signatures.

“The 87 qualified petition signatures that were submitted falls well short of the 208-elector threshold required by the statute. Therefore, it is my determination that the petitions that were submitted on April 29, 2016 are insufficient to require a referendum on the intermunicipal agreement between the Town of Paris and the Village of Somers described above,” the certificate says.

The town based its case for the scope of who would vote in such a referendum in part on a recent ruling by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on a situation involving the town of Somers and the village of Somers, which said a similar issue affected both the town and the village not just the town, the certificate says.

Michael McTernan, an attorney representing the Paris residents who petitioned for the referendum, said the action will be appealed in court.

“This is an abuse of their power,” McTernan said of town officials.

McTernan said the town itself established who was affected by the agreement when it sent out certified letters to property owners telling them about the public hearing. He received from the town a list of about 100 property owners, basically the same group from which his clients sought signatures.

Now the town appears to contend the whole town is affected because it is in their interest to do so, McTernan claimed.

“The statute is clear,” McTernan said. “Why include people two miles away? Their jurisdiction is not going to change. They’re still in Paris.”



  1. Affected Resident says:

    When did the Town Clerk become a judge able to interpret the law? Also, we really need an unbiased person interpreting the statue as she lives in the unaffected part of Paris.

  2. Affected Resident says:

    Democracy is dead….

    All these years, I thought I lived in a democracy where tyranny by majority against the minority was barred.

  3. Resident in Affected Area says:

    I thought I lived in a democracy where tyranny by majority against the minority was barred. Apparently, this concept has been lost in Paris.

  4. Nothing new in Paris says:

    The Paris town board should be very nervous about all the actions they have taken. Clearly they have a lot to hide.

  5. Paris resident says:

    I agree! When did the town clerk and the Paris town board allow to change the laws to fit the way they needed and be the judge and jury! These residents were abused by the Paris town board. You read in the newspaper of the money Paris town board is giving the Village of Somers. It seems Paris town board would rather help finance another community to grow and improve their village, then to help their own Paris residents. The Paris town board decide to take it upon themselves to decided what they could do with the Paris residents revenue money, why didn’t the rest of Paris have a say? Like the other person said what else are they hiding? Something for the rest of Paris residents should think about!

  6. Perplexed in Paris says:

    What a blatant abuse of power by our town board. Let’s not be too quick to judge Clerk McCumber….she’s just following the instructions of the board. Meanwhile,the lawyers time meters for all parties involved continue to spin , costing EVERYONE money. Whether you live in the designated “twilight zone” or not, if you live in Paris, you WILL be affected by this. 100 of our “neighbors” and fellow residents have been adversely impacted by this “decision” made by our board. Are we really willing to let our fellow neighbors be “sacrificed’ to Mr.Stoner and the rest of the Somers board?
    We are better than that folks. A sad day in our town history.

  7. commenter says:

    @perplexed: I am perplexed by your position that the Paris Town Board’s decision in this case is an abuse of power. You yourself say this deal will effect all of Paris. So then why shouldn’t the referendum include all of Paris? Sounds like they made the right decision. What’s wrong with giving everyone a chance to vote?

  8. Affected Resident says:

    Why should the rest of the town get to vote to hurt my personal finances? Since it impacts me $1,000 just in the first year. We might as well let the Village of Somers vote, if the rest of Paris gets to vote. It’s like saying Beverly McCumber’s property is now Somers and we will pay Somers $500 dollars to take it and share 50% of the profits, but the whole town gets to say it is fair or not. That is what the affected resident are facing. Unjustice.

    Beverly should have sought legal advice before making her call. No where does it say on the Town website that she sought legal advice for her judgement call. However her decision is costing others thousands of dollars in legal fees. She subjected herself to this.

  9. Perplexed in Paris says:

    @commenter: You say “why shouldn’t the referendum include all of Paris”? “what’s wrong with giving everyone a chance to vote’? How magnanimous of you. 1. right now …NOBODY is getting “a chance to vote”(your words, not mine!) The folks living outside of the “Twiight Zone” will not be forced into the Village of Somers!!! The 100+ folks living in the affected zone are now going to be SHUNNED by folks like you? 80+ residents signed the petition for a referendum!!!!! The old “divide and conquer” is working overtime here in Paris!

  10. Perplexed in Paris says:

    @commenter………don’t know what is in your drinking water….you advocate that the referendum should include all of Paris residents. You approve of the 80 residents who live in the Twilight Zone being denied their opportunity to vote in a referendum. Read your post again! To date, the Paris Town Board has denied EVERYONE an opportunity to vote on this issue. Those of us living the nightmare of being kicked out of Paris and being thrown into Somers(anybody got a better description?)are thoroughly disheartened by the lack of support the rest of our “community” has shown us. Paris residents have always prided ourselves on taking care of our neighbors in the time of need. What happened to that sense of community? The only ones laughing all the way to the bank are George Stoner and the Somers Village Board. And the attornies, of course!

  11. Paris Pundit says:

    A question for “commenter”. Just curious….is your home/land being “transferred” to Somers? I’m guessing not. Ask yourself why NO Paris residents, including yourself, had ANY opportunity to vote on this proposal? It was a “railroad job” from the beginning, all done with “smoke and mirrors”. At the expense of ALL Paris residents.

  12. Affected Resident says:

    The rest of Paris should not get a vote to kick my house out of Paris. That is just completely ridiculous.

    If they feel that way, just beware that this is a 10 year deal only. 10 year deal so they could “railroad” this in. When they grab your property in the next 10 year border agreement with Somers – do you want everyone else to vote to kick you out?

  13. commenter says:

    Look, perplexed, YOU said “if you live in Paris, you WILL be affected by this.” That sounds like an argument for a whole town referendum to me. An argument made by you, though perhaps unwittingly.

  14. Perplexed in Paris says:

    @commenter: Hmmmm….you propose a referendum for the whole town of Paris. You agree that the Town Board made the right decision in DENYING those in the “Twilight Zone” the opportunity for a referendum. To date, the Town Board members have DENIED ALL OF US living in Paris the opportunity for a referendum, hence the abuse of power I contend prevails, you contend is appropriate. Divide and Conquer at it’s best. Let’s kick 100 residents out of Paris against their will, make them residents of Somers, make them pay Somers taxes(not Paris taxes)…..let’s deny them access to municipal sewer and water, and let’s not give them any opportunity to vote on it.
    Yeah…..folks reading this gotta wonder……what the heck IS going on!!??

  15. 142 farmer says:

    It is for the ‘greater good’ of the rest of Paris. Few of us must be sacrificed so the rest of Paris may live in peace. We must give up our homes and lands so Virgil and Holloway may be protected for ever. They are so blinded by their selfishness that they do not care what happens to us. These are our neighbors in the Town of Paris.

  16. All residents matter says:

    First off, for those who commented that, “Democracy is dead… All these years, I thought I lived in a democracy where tyranny by majority against the minority was barred.”

    OK, ummm…. I don’t know what planet you’ve been living on but you just stated the definition of democracy. Been that way for over 200 years now. It is mob rule, it is rule by majority. Look it up… jeez, that’s pretty basic stuff. Perhaps that is the issue here? Too much ignorance to fully comprehend the matter at hand?

    I like the deal. I’m not in the affected area but am right on the border and in the direct path of Kenosha annexation and have been concerned about the erosion of Paris for years.

    I don’t blame anyone living in the affected area for being concerned, I would be too. But the issue of Kenosha annexing Paris land needs to be addressed. Have any of the upset residents offered an alternative proposal? Do the affected residents not recognize that there is a border issue? Are their eyes glossed over with dollar signs? It sounds as though at least a few are.

    It is my understanding that Paris board members have sought a border agreement with Kenosha for years and were essentially told that “Kenosha can annex Paris property as it pleases so why would it benefit Kenosha to ever enter into a deal with Paris?”

    That attitude by Kenosha puts our Paris board members’ backs against the wall and I applaud them for their creativity in coming up with this deal. I feel that this deal works for the majority of the residents. It is unfortunate that a minority of residents feel disaffected by this deal but hey, that’s tyranny by majority for ya, or democracy, whatever you want to call it.

  17. Paris Resident says:

    The Town paid a lot of money to have Foth draw those maps that are part of the agreement with the City of Kenosha – which was adopted in November of 2015. Look at the home page on the town’s website. I don’t understand how the town can sign an agreement with the City, and then, throw it away? Each piece of property that is now supposed to be annexed to the Village of Somers, is already mapped out in the City of Kenosha agreement. How can this be? Just how many thousands of dollars is the town board spending on attorney fees for this matter? How many thousands of dollars were spent less than one year ago on attorney fees for the other agreement? How many thousands of dollars were spent on town planner fees that are now all worthless? The Town board is whittling away the town’s surplus of money – by the time it’s said and done, it won’t really matter who goes where because we’re all screwed, and we’ll all have to pay high taxes. I believe power has gone to their heads – they have to remember that WE THE PEOPLE put them in the office that they are in – WE trusted them with the town’s money – WE trusted them to make the best decisions for the Town as a whole – they have not done that. Instead they have SOLD US OUT, and not even to the highest bidder! They’re actually PAYING the Village to Take part of our town! 2500 acres to be exact! Will they be selling us out to the Village of Bristol to our South? How ’bout the Village of Union Grove to our North? None of us can be sleeping easy at night – so, “commenter” – unless you live right in the middle of the existing Town, you may want to worry a little bit that your place will be next.

  18. Paris Resident says:

    @ All residents matter….. I would LOVE to know how long you’ve been a Paris resident. Good Deal??? How can you possibly say that? The Town board members have signed a deal that will deplete the Town’s savings by half, AND the town will lose 2500 acres of land that “could” have been a decent tax base for the rest of us, including you! Erosion of Paris? Where? “Kenosha can annex Paris property as it pleases?” Wrong – a person has to WANT to be annexed. Creativity? Really??? What’s SO creative about giving away part of the town, and half of it’s money?

  19. Affected Resident says:

    You must have fallen asleep during the second half of government class. Part of a democracy is that minorities have rights. My rights as a minority are being violated.

    Paris Board has never asked us for alternative proposals. They picked this plan in secret. At the annual meeting, the Paris Board even confessed to intentionally deceiving the very residents they were elected to serve by avoiding forming a quorum when discussing this agreeement.

    If this is such a great deal for the unaffected residents, why doesn’t Paris just pay the lower of my Paris or Somers tax indefinitely? Then I would have no problem with this deal. There is a solution for you.

    One of the Board members doesn’t even understand that higher property taxes means lower property resale value. Why does almost every Paris home for sale say “Low, Low Property taxes” then?

    Paris Board reacted too slowly. Kenosha already backs up to my backyard. Paris Board failed to prevent that. Paris let me down already and now they want to screw my finances.

    Many of the affected residents are retirees living on social security who have lived here many years. This agreement is like a dagger to their hearts and wallets.

  20. 142farmer says:

    That’s nice because you’re not affected. I am. You know, the people like me who are affected by this IGA wouldn’t be so mad if we had ben given a fair shake. My taxes are going to go up a lot when we are handed over to Somers on a platter. It’s not just $5 per $1000 of assssment. That’s what they are telling us so we feel it’s not a big deal. We will be reassessed in a year and our taxes will double or triple. Now if, as part of the ‘sacrificial deal’, we were guaranteed that our taxes ***and assessments*** would not change for another 10 years or until we get water and sewer, I’d be fine with going to Somers. I just don’t want to pay double taxes *now* with the dubious benefit of potentially getting sewer and water some time in the future. We all know we are not going to get water and sewer through Somers. And all those who are feeling smug by throwing us to the wolves, your day is coming.

    If only the ‘wise men’ of our town had allowed more residents in the town of Paris over the past 10 years, we’d be a village and all this wouldn’t have happened. But that’s what happens when you have a bunch of illiterate farmers try their hand at managing a multimillion dollar business. Now the residents of Paris have been divided and people are turning against their neighbors. It’s going to be a long drawn lawsuit. And we will fight tooth and nail against this injustice.

  21. Resident in Affected Area says:

    To All residents Matter!
    It is not about the $ as you put it! As they keep putting in the newspaper. It was the way are Paris Town Board went about doing this dealing behind our backs and behind closed doors! Isn’t it is an American right to have a choice, not to be told what they have to do! Have you read the draft of this agreement? Tell me why is the border of this agreement is so much like a zigzag? Why should the Paris town board have anything to do with what we can do with our land if we have to go into the Village of Somers. They are making these affected people have to go through two governmental bodies to do anything to their land is that fair? Does any other Village, Town, City have to get permission from two governmental groups? I don’t think so. Then there is the matter of them giving free money to the Village of Somers, money the belongs the Paris residents. Doesn’t that bother you? My question to you if you think this is such a great deal then why aren’t you in it or why don’t you ask to be in this agreement also? Then you can be govern by two different governments, not be able to do anything with your land and have to pay higher taxes. I don’t think you would like it very much if you were in this deal. We don’t want to be in the Village of Somers or Kenosha. We want to be able to chose what is right for us not have someone tell us what we can do or not do! It does affect a lot of people in this agreement and the Paris residents outside this agreement in different ways! Has the Paris town board ever ask any Paris resident or people that are in this agreement for any idea or said anything to us at any board meeting? Have the Paris town board ever say anything to us about talking to Kenosha of a boundary agreement? If the Paris town board was a true town board they would of mentioned this stuff at the board meetings or made it published on their website or newspaper or even send out letters of their concerns and any suggestions or place it on a ballot. Have they done any of that? So like you said,” that’s tyranny by majority for ya, or democracy, whatever you want to call it” and “Do the affected residents not recognize that there is a border issue?”. Yes they do! But way the Paris town board handle this issue behind closed doors,signed sealed and the way they delivered it is not the way to run a town board. So again I ask you “if you think this is such a great deal then you should be asking to also be in this intergovernmental agreement, that you believe this brave Paris town board has agreed upon and that you applaud them for their creativity in coming up with this deal. Something for you to think about! It’s not just the money as you have said it is, it is the idea of losing our rights and being treated like we are nobody. We are residents of Paris also!

  22. go figure says:

    If you feel that way! Then why aren’t you in this Paris/Village of Somers agreement if you feel it is such a great idea! They took are right away and Paris will still have their hand into telling us what to do with our land even though they gave us to the Village of Somers. Why aren’t you upset that they are using your money to help another community? It’s your money to help Paris! You think they did such a wonderful job then you should go over to the town hall and ask to be in this deal! You should read the draft that they had written up! The Paris town board did this behind our back, signed, sealed and delivered it. Have they ever asked anybody at town meetings, in newsletters or on their website about talking to Kenosha of a boundary agreement or asked anyone for ideas or suggestions of anything of a boundary agreement? So before you say you think it is such a great idea and applaud them for their creativity in coming up with this deal. Read the agreement and then tell me you think it is a great idea and lets see if you annex your land into this wonderful agreement if it is so good as you say! We don’t want the Village of Somers or Kenosha! We are Paris residents too! Hopefully someone doesn’t do this to you behind your back and give you NO choice of what you can do with your future!

  23. Perplexed in Paris says:

    @All residents matter: well apparently, some residents matter more than others!
    You say you live “right on the border” “in the path of Kenosha annexation and have been concerned about the erosion of Paris for years”.(your words, not mine). Conveniently left out of your post, is the fact that Kenosha has ALWAYS NEGOTIATED annexation agreements with surrounding communities. They have not “gobbled up” their neighbors. Does Kenosha hold the upper hand in those negotiations? Of course!! Guess that plays nicely into your “mob rule” philosophy that you apparently embrace and endorse. Read your post again. Your slam at those folks adversely affected living in the “Twilight Zone” is appalling…”are their eyes glossed over with dollar signs”? Maybe you should try taking off your “rose colored glasses” for a minute, and walk a mile in their shoes!! You ask if those “upset residents” have considered an alternative proposal? YES THEY HAVE!!Many of them would like to annex into the city of Kenosha, where they would have access to municipal city and water, something that Somers in UNABLE to offer.
    Why is it acceptable to you that Somers can annex land in Paris, AGAINST the landowners wishes, but those same landowners cannot be annexed into Kenosha?
    You conveniently try to place the blame for this mess on the city of Kenosha, when in fact, our Paris board members “backs are against the wall” because they “backed themselves into a corner” when they “joined foces” with Somers to try and railroad this fiasco through. I will ask anyone reading this post, once again, WHERE is the sewer and water service going t come from to make this venture a
    “financial success”. NOBODY has been able to answer that question!

  24. 142 farmer says:

    Nobody is going to answer your question about where the sewer and water will come from. And you know why, they just don’t care if you and I don’t get water and sewer as long as they get their “Great Wall” to keep Kenosha out of Paris. Then they can live happily ever after.

  25. Perplexed in Paris says:

    @142 farmer…..I like your analogy of the “Great Wall” to keep Kenosha out of Paris.
    Unfortunately, some of us have been thrown to the “other side” of the wall, and walls are now being built between residents, the old “Divide and Conquer” tactic. How sad for our town.

  26. Satisfied in Somers says:

    Here in Somers, we are VERY PLEASED with the pending IGA. Paris will pay us $1.25 million up front for the “privilege” of forcing some of their residents into our Village.
    We will get a revolving $5 million loan, we will benefit from the increased tax revenue those folks annexed into our village will have to pay us, we will not have to provide initial fire & rescue service to the annexed area…..what’s not for us to like? I think our Somers board did a terrific job of negotiating this arrangement. We will welcome our new residents with open arms.

  27. 142 farmer says:

    Somers, Please don’t gloat. Finding happiness in someone else’s grief makes you a really very bad person.

  28. Satisfied in Somers says:

    @142 farmer…..I’m not “gloating”. What did I say in my post that wasnt’ true? Our board was “negotiating” on behalf of Somers residents, NOT Paris residents. We got a pretty good deal out of it( wouldn’t you agree with that?) If you are not pleased with the job your town board did “negotiating”, take it up with them. I was sincere when I said we would welcome the new residents to our village. I re-read my post…you should do the same, I am not gloating, just doing a Dragnet Jack Webb “just the facts”.

  29. Nothing new in Paris says:

    Sorry Satisfied, This will get thrown out. They will have to start over and Kenosha will be involved. By that time the recall will have happened, and hopefully then, a boundary agreement can be done properly. The Paris Board needs to “Listen” to the words of the pledge they say before every meeting. ….with Liberty and Justice for ALL!

  30. Satisfied in Somers says:

    @Nothing new in Paris…folks..while I stated that I(and lots of us “east of the I in Somers”) am satisfied with the IGA and the job our Somers Board did negotiating it, IF the annexed area is provided with sewer and water, BOTH Somers and Paris benefit long run from the additional tax revenues. So if Kenosha is brought into the “negotiations’ or another entity can provide sewer/water….Somers residents win even bigger! I think this CAN be a “win-win” for everyone.

  31. Affected Resident says:

    @satisfied in somers….you do realize that if Paris gets a deal with Kenosha, Somers is out of the picture. Somers doesn’t bring anything to the table besides blocking Kenosha.

  32. 142 farmer says:

    Somers is broke. That’s what they are. If this deal for free money from Paris gets tossed out, their taxes will go up again. If you think Paris has a bad board, Somers board has taken them close to bankruptcy. They need to go as well.

  33. Satisfied in Somers says:

    @Affected Resident…not sure I understand your position. My post CLEARLY implies that Paris, Somers, AND Kenosha could ALL benefit if all 3 were included in “negotiations. Read my post again. You imply that only Paris and Kenosha would be included in any “negotiations”, leaving Somers out of the process. Where you got that from reading my post is hard to figure out. Somers and Kenosha have a much longer history of “negotiating” with each other that Paris and Kenosha do. All 3 entities need to sit down at the table.

  34. 142 farmer says:

    Sure they can all benefit from sitting down together. But what does Somers have to offer, to qualify them for an invitation to sit at this table? Ain’t no freebies!

  35. put you feet in our shoes says:

    Of course the Village of Somers is excited about this for they are getting free money they don’t have to pay back and more money from the residents of Paris that is a revolving loan. We are forgetting that these board members did this agreement behind everyone’s back, behind closed doors. They took the residents right to choose away. Why were they hiding this from the residents in Paris. Village of Somers grow and Paris town stalls and the people affected in this lose. So think about how you would feel if this agreement affected you and your retirement, future and home? How would you feel knowing that you are going to be treated differently then any other town, village or even city, because the people affected in this agreement have to go through 2 government bodies to be able to do anything to their land and taxes go up over 30% or more. There is more in this agreement that is sad, but I don’t want to keep up any longer. So again how would you feel if your town board did something like this behind your back and took your rights away? Think about it! I thought we lived in the United States where you had the right to speak, think for yourself, had a choice and had the right to vote! The Paris town board abused our rights and so did the people involved writing up this agreement and are pushing it!

  36. Affected Resident says:

    @satisfied in somers. I was just merely making the point that I doubt Paris or Kenosha would include Somers in the discussion or agreement. Somers just doesn’t bring anything to benefit Kenosha or Paris. Kenosha has the power of being a City and has power over the water and sewer. Paris has the glorious land. Kenosha and Paris both have more access to money than Somers. Somers has nothing to add.

  37. Check out our campaign to support a recall at

  38. Paris Barthélemy says:

    Check out the campaign to recall Paris Town Board over this issue and have our voice heard!

  39. Northwestern Mike says:

    Dear Perplexed in Paris,

    You asked, “WHERE is the sewer and water service going to come from to make this venture a “financial success”?”

    ((Legislation was added to Wisconsin’s state budget prohibiting the city of Kenosha from disapproving requests from Somers for water and sewer extensions to development projects.

    Kreuser said he proposed the legislation change to stop what he called “border fights” and “political boundary lines.”

    “I try to break up the barriers that stop development,” Kreuser said. “Developers want to get things done, and if they want to do business just north of Amazon and they were having difficulty because of the back and forth between Somers and the city of Kenosha, now the barrier is removed.

    The city rejected a connection request from Somers in the fall after Somers refused to annex the Tunkieicz property into the city as a condition. ))

    Kreuser defends development deal involving chief of staff
    Kenosha News July 15, 2015

    Kenosha sure sounds like they are playing very heavy handed. Annex to Kenosha or no water connections.

    Let’s extrapolate a little. Annex all Paris property along the interstate to Kenosha or no water. NO THANKS.

    I wonder how a judge would feel about that.

    Somers could always buy water from Racine.

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