Coverage of Salem merger informational forum #1

town-of-salem-sign-webOver 50 people turned out for the first of two informational forums on the proposed Salem-Silver Lake merger Thursday.

Those in attendance heard a presentation on the process and were able to ask questions and make statements.

Only one person who spoke seemed hostile to the plan. She contended that Salem becoming part of a village was bound to increase taxes, though town officials dispute that.

Perhaps the greatest example of the feel good vibe occurred when four members of the Silver Lake Village Board in attendance stood up and introduced themselves and then got a round of applause from the audience.

A process of creating a cooperative plan and boundary agreement that would merge the two municipalities become public in May. If the process follows the expected timeline, the two municipalities will become one village as of Feb. 14, 2017.

Michael Ullstrup, who served as chairman of the Salem citizens committee that studied incorporation, led the presentation.

While Ullstrup touched on the whole process, its rationale and procedure, perhaps the newest information was what the merger might do to property taxes for Salem residents after the merger. His calculations, based on 2016 values and 2016 budgets from both municipalities, showed that to support the same level of spending that both municipalities now maintain Salem’s mill rate would increase to $3.77/$1,000 of assessed value. The current mill rate is $3.47. That would equal an increase of $30 on a home valued at $200,000. A decrease in the levy of about 8 percent could mean no increase in rate in this model, Ullstrup said.

Most Salem elected town officials in attendance voiced  strong support for the merger.

Said Salem Chairman Diann Tesar:

I don’t see anything but a win-win situation for Salem and a win-win situation for Silver Lake.”

Salem Supervisor Dennis Faber said Salem is unique among Wisconsin towns because it opted to install a sewer system to protect the lakes, but this has made it more attractive than the average town to development. To protect that tax base, becoming a village is necessary, he said. Faber said:

Some time in our history we are going to become a village. The opportunity outweighs the necessity at this time, but it is inevitable.”

Salem Supervisor Dan Campion lauded the partnership with Silver Lake. Campion said:

This has been a great and historical, I think, relationship between Salem and Silver Lake … The two entities getting together to become a village is a great synergy.”

Salem Supervisor Ted Kmiec said he initially wanted Salem to pursue incorporation to become a village on its own, but came around to the merger because it allows the whole town to become a village at the same time and it’s less costly. Kmiec said:

It just started making a lot of sense. I think it’s going to work.”

There is another informational forum scheduled for June 21 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The slides from the presentation are available here.



  1. Public meeting 8 months prior to implementation? That’s great, that’s the way government should work.

  2. Silver Lake Resident says:

    I haven’t seen anything in the drafts that “guarantee” any growth to silver lake. Any “guarantee” that our fire station will remain. All I can see in the draft is how wonderful it is for Salem. The Village of Silver Lake WILL hire this person and that person. The Village of Silver Lake WILL do this and do that. The NEW Village will be using Salem’s attorney’s – they know the area, AND they authored the draft. GEE, where is Silver Lake’s million dollar attorney at? Has our village even had ANY legal representation in all of this at all??? Now that KCHC is opening a clinic in our village and Vail is rehabbing Wilmot mountain – I think Salem is a little to eager to get our village, and we are giving it away much too easily, much too soon.

  3. Thank You! says:

    Why is it Silver Lake is selling its soul to Salem Without any benefit to Silver Lake residents?

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Silver Lake Resident and Thank You……..time for you folks to come out of your caves, see the light, and smell the roses! The comment “without any benefit to Silver Lake residents” shows just how CLUELESS some folks are. Read the proposal AGAIN(or for some folks, for the FIRST time), try coming to a public forum, talking with elected representatives, etc. The “naysayers” continue to affront reality!

  5. Facts Bernard? says:

    Zero benefits except for paying a couple dollars less a year in taxes. I challenge you to show me any real documented savings. You won’t, it’s easier for you to post insults and whatever information was spoon fed to you.

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Facts Bernard? “Documented savings”…..pretty hard to “document” that(your words, not mine!) when in FACT the merger has not taken place yet!!!! So let me
    “spoon feed” you some FACTS: 1. New village will have full time experienced administrator. 2.Currently Silver Lake has NO BOND RATING, must borrow funds at “market rate”. Town of Salem has a favorable Bond Rating by Standard and Poor’s of AA Stable. 3.Village of Silver Lake property tax mill rate currently $5.52 per thousand valuation. Town of Salem property tax mill rate currently is $3.47 per thousand valuation. You expound that there will be “zero benefits”(your words, not mine). You CONVENIENTLY leave out such benefits as PARAMEDIC level service with a STAFFED fire station in Silver Lake(it’s coming!) expanded capabilities of the public works department(less projects will be “contracted out”), a greater tax base, along with the potential for continued growth in our new village.
    As for my ability to post insults versus yours…..ah….you’re in the “minor leagues”!

  7. Crickets..... says:

    If anyone is waiting for Bernard to provide any proof you will be waiting for a long time.

  8. Full time administrator? says:

    Full time Administrator is a COST, staffed fire station is a COST, and having to pay more in taxes because Silver Lake doesn’t know how to manage their VIllage is pitiful.

  9. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Crickets……keep chirping!

  10. Sl Goverment says:

    To Full time administrator. You are right about the passed Sliver Lake Boards. We are paying for their mistakes. That is way the administrator is needed and Sue, Roger and others are gone. Voted out. The new board is educated and knows what to do. I stand with them.

  11. Toney stone says:

    I applaud the people who are finally figured out that Bernard is just a fictional character who lives in the twilight zone and thinks he can beliddle people when one of his wires short circuit, just like the twilight zone Bernard you’ve expired!

  12. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Toney stone…………sorry pal….you are the one with your “wires crossed”….I’m like the Energizer Bunny…….I just keep going on and on and on and on……I have no expiration date!!!

  13. Wrong again Bernie says:

    You are more like school in the summer time……… class.

  14. Toney stone says:

    As your walls begin to close in on your movie like character Bernard the wires have shorted out to the point they you now have become what experts would say you have become a pathological liar for all your phoney followers that means you believe your own mistaken identity, please get the help you need !!!

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