Coverage of Salem merger informational forum #2

town-of-salem-signSalem on Tuesday hosted its second informational forum regarding the proposed merger with Silver Lake at Town Hall.

This audience, at about 35 people was a little smaller than the audience for a similar forum last week.

Those in attendance Tuesday heard a presentation on the process and were able to ask questions and make statements, as was the process last week as well. Michael Ullstrup, who served as chairman of the Salem citizens committee that studied incorporation, led the presentation.

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.

Two of the more significant changes in program from last week were:

  • There was more discussion about how the areas of Salem designated as Paddock Lake growth area will move into Paddock Lake eventually. Salem administrator Patrick Casey said town officials had held considerable discussion with state Department of Administration officials in recent days to confirm that the growth areas will be included in the new combined village, but then move to Paddock Lake in 2026, when a previous boundary agreement between Salem and Paddock Lake calls for that to happen. “They all agree that will happen,” Casey said. There are plans to make the section in the draft agreement governing the merger clearer in this regard, Casey said.
  • Tax impact numbers that were mistakenly presented at the last forum were corrected.  Ullstrup presented calculations, based on 2016 values and 2016 budgets from both municipalities, that 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 $60 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. Ullstrup also emphasized that his calculations made no effort to analyze where cuts could be made or account for differences in how garbage collection is charged.

All Salem Town Board members were in attendance. Two Silver Lakes trustees also were in attendance.

The next step in the process is a joint public hearing on the cooperative boundary plan, scheduled for July 6.

Salem recently put together a page on its website of information relating to the merger that includes links to the draft of the plan, frequently asked questions and other information. You can access that here.



  1. Thanks Silver Lake Board! says:

    Because the ya-hoos over in Silver Lake don’t know how to run a Village, My family and I are now seeing an increases in taxes. Gee,, how swell! How about we make Silver Lake be fiscally responsible before we go into any partnerships with them? or at the very least, make them sell some of their toys or play houses,,, ie Fire trucks, ATV vehicles, boats, Zamboni, Silver Lake Fire house building, Library building, etc etc.

  2. But, The WORST CASE SCENARIO says:

    But, The WORST CASE SCENARIO is what Ullstrup & Co is using and the WORST CASE SCENARIO for the mill rate is what we are being given. Kudos for that, instead of building in any savings that logically will occur when comparisons to all duplication are made. The Zamboni was NOT purchased with tax payer money but by donations from people and if we can believe all media accounts, done in a lickity split fashion to be used as soon as the rink was ready! Hats off to them. Salem hasn’t done anything like that since the days of collecting money to build the library building, so lets give credit to the regular citizens who like their community. We can see it is clear that the writer above is guessing and maybe that is natural with ‘change’. ATV and BOATS that were associated with the POLICE are still associated with the POLICE, that being the SHERIFF. The Silver Lake Fire House Building? Those are already part of the TSFR services that the villagers are contracting for and monies to bring that up came out of that contract, so again, there is some crying wolf up above that is needless. Ditto with the fire trucks. NO need to sell fire trucks unless and until they don’t serve the community and we all know that they ARE SERVING the community and they are serving in Silver Lake and in Salem as part of the TSFR team. So again, a little complaining about something that already has been taken care of. What the write should be asking is about the infrastructure that cant be seen and I suspect that if asked, the figure that would be stated would be far below the monies that would be forked out to incorporate and the time to make it all happen would bring a nashing of teeth to everyone involved even if it were slick smooth. The money that Silver Lake has helps pay for any mis-steps of some of the former Silver Lake Board members made in not planning for the future, but there have been some recent investments by this board in short time by the way, to fix some of the issues that might be of some concern to the Salemites. If things were to continue the old way, and eventually Silver Lake was forced on Salem, don’t you think that cost to us would be far worse? I do! If the cost of joining were to be so extraordinary to Salemites, the TOS board members would be planting those questions in the audiences of the meetings. There have been no such questions. Important in this statement is that the Town, has had a hand for a while now, sufficient to know the status of the utility, the roads, the storm sewers that they have there that we don’t have and the buildings. The costs to maintain and bring them up to a level like other TOS buildings is far cheaper than building them fresh and new. I will bring up a recent post on WOTI about the refinancing of the Building/tower loan. That was done with no increase to the duration of the contract but nets the town a substantial savings. If they had extended the contract period it would not be a savings but they maintained the date and got the reduction to boot! Great deal for TOS and the mil rate! That is a savings figure NOT included in the U&Co presentation – because their task was worst case scenario and so they used the old rate from the budget.( You could recalculate yourself to see the impact on the mil rate.) So, this savings alone could make it so that our Salem taxes will not go up. And since the mil rate is based on the budget, which will be in process after the next election, you can be sure that the board will do anything possible to keep the mil rate low or lower than prior to the merge. 3.47 is the TARGET that we will be watching! This effort will be a baseline for other communities in the same boat in the state to be measured by. I think that Salem wants to be the best from a historical standpoint and merging AND having a low mil rate (maybe lower than prior to the merge) will be the goal of the board. It is a sure thing that all (and I do mean ALL, Silver Lake people will get lower taxes. We can see what their mil rate is now. HORRENDOUS! Merging with us in Salem is like going to the ice cream store every single day! Heaven !!(Pecans on my Sundae please). Only those who have had unfair low assessments for a long time at the expense of their neighbors will see a rise i n their taxes because, if we read the WOTI, we know that they are being revaluated. Finally. after many years of no valuation the citizens there may get a fair shake! The value of Silver Lake properties affects the mil rate. Is the total value of the village going to go up or down with the new valuation? Do we know? Do we think we know? U&Co can’t know either and until that is available, the true mil rate can’t be calculated, and of course, the final budget figure is needed. All of us in Salem need to realize that this is the first time that this could have been coordinated. The new mix of the Silver Lake Board was the pivotal change. The entire community surrounding Silver Lake – Salem, Paddock Lake, Brighton, Wheatland – will be the benefactors in this merge. They had been adjacent to a community not progressing and in some cases, hindering. This merge changes every outlook and plan whenever dependency on Silver Lake was involved. The current Silver Lake Board is in place because of this concern by not only those communities but by her own citizens. The whole of the Silver Lake issue and this new merger shows everyone that when the citizens do get involved, good things happen. The citizens must elect the right people to represent them. The citizens must not be derelict in their duties to be informed on each candidate. We must not elect our buddies merely because they are our buddies. Elect candidates who have vision and who are willing to execute a plan that is futuristic and brings value to the community and protects the citizens. My money is on the mil rate being 3.40 with the first combined budget. Let’s just see.

  3. Yes, Thanks Silver Lake! says:

    For those who are mad that Our Taxes, (yes I live in Salem) are going up, let’s do a little math.

    The goal here is and always has been for Salem to become a Village to “Protect” itself from rising Taxes!! To be in control of ourselves.

    The only way to keep taxes low for ‘all of us’ is to keep ‘all of us’ together.
    (This is why we should do this with Silver Lake) If we do not become a Village we will slowly be eaten up by every Tom, Dick and Harry Village next to us as They try to increase their tax base so they can lower Their mill rate.

    It has already happened with the boundary agreement with Paddock Lake. Does anybody think that in ten years if we are not a Village that Paddock Lake won’t take more??
    Or for that matter Twin Lakes won’t try to take some??

    Think about this scenario.
    What if a developer came from Chicago or Milwaukee where he kept hearing from people who wanted to live in the country but just didn’t want to have to drive forever to get to work? And what if that developer decided to buy some land on the far east edge of the still “Town of Salem”? But every time he did a survey in the city and asked people if they knew where Salem was, they said no or that’s too far. But when he asked if they knew where Bristol was they said, ” Oh yea, that’s where the Bristol Renaissance Fair is. Right off the highway. That’s not so bad. I would live there because I could just get right on the highway and get to work.”

    So this developer guy puts in an option to buy 100 Salem acres and goes to a Bristol board meeting and says, ” If you annex in my 100 acres I will build 200 homes! That’s because I can sell homes with a Bristol address to city people because they say that being in Bristol is very close to the highway going into the city. But if that same hundred acres has a Salem address those same people will think that it’s too far off the highway to commute? ”

    Not we know that the mileage wouldn’t change one bit but that’s not the point, it’s the perception of the buyer from the city that will sell those homes and if Salem is still a Town at that time we wouldn’t be able to stop Bristol from doing that. So there goes 100 acres off of our tax rolls and on to Bristol’s. So now Salem’s taxes go UP for everybody that’s left because we still have the same expenses but less land owners to pay them.
    And every time somebody else wants to do the same thing, we can’t stop it!

    So your point that by taking on Silver Lake as a partner in this “Becoming a Village” plan is a bad thing now and will increase you taxes by $30. per 100,000 , just wait when your taxes go up a whole lot more as our land mass/value goes down!

    Its math, that if you have been listening to everybody who has been answering questions over the last few weeks, that will ultimately keep our taxes low and more importantly stable! If you still don’t get that then please stop by the still “Town Hall” and ask Mr. Casey to walk you thru it. He is more than willing to help anybody understand. Or come to the twice monthly meetings and ask anybody sitting up front.

    The bottom line is that as more years and decades go by we will lose land to others if we don’t protect it by becoming a Village.

    Now all of that said, working with Silver Lake is the easiest and least costly way to become a Village and also keep us all together. There is no other way to do this without being broke up into pieces. Just look at the Somers Village and Town maps. Or the Bristol Village and Town maps from a few years ago. Sure we can do what Bristol did, but that would take years and with no guarantee we would be as successful. And it would cost a whole lot more. And since we are selling services to Silver Lake already it just makes sense to do this with them.

    Please take some time to read up on what’s happening and see how this will ultimately be the best way to keep control of our Town both in taxes and growth.

    And remember, just because Bristol and Silver Lake are our friends now, that doesn’t mean that a few years down the road a new different board, (there’s or ours) might see things different.

  • Follow us on

  • Archives