Merged Silver Lake/Salem village to be named Salem Lakes

The name of the new village created by the merger of Salem and Silver Lake will be Salem Lakes.

That was perhaps the most anticipated news from the release on Monday of the latest draft of the cooperative plan that if approved locally and passes state review will make the two municipalities one as of Feb. 14, 2017.

An earlier version of the plan called for the new village to be called Salem.

At some of the public meetings in between the release of that first draft and Monday’s release of the latest draft there was reference among town and village officials that there was some discussion going on about the ultimate name. One name said to be under consideration was Bullen’s Bridge, which alludes to an early bridge over the Fox River at the location of the present day village of Silver Lake.

About the name selection process, Silver Lake village President Bruce Nopenz  said:

The historical name wasn’t received very well, so we’ve worked hard for a name that was agreeable with both boards. It was viewed as a new beginning for both communities and we felt a new name was fitting.”

About the name selection process, Salem town Chairman Diann Tesar said:

This one particular issue has been on the back of everyone’s minds since day one. Everyone in their respective village and town wants to retain their identity through this process of a boundary agreement. I think that no matter what the new village name, the board has accomplished that. Salem still remains Salem. Trevor still remains Trevor and Silver Lake still remains Silver Lake and so on.We’re just going to be a village now; a large village. Sure I’m certainly partial to name our new village Salem but ” Salem Lakes” was a compromise between the two entities.We can not let this agreement go down the tubes simply because of a name.We really have worked so hard to get to this point. I’m not going to let our residents down over a name.”

Both municipalities will vote on the plan at special meetings on Wednesday.

Salem’s meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The agenda for the Salem meeting does not include public comment.

Silver Lake’s meeting will also take place at 7 p.m. at Village Hall, Nopenz said. No agenda has been posted at the village website yet.

A copy of the latest draft is available here.

The effort to draft a cooperative plan to merge the two municipalities surfaced in May. Such a merger would be the most economical and efficient method of Salem becoming a village, a move that has been under consideration for years, town officials say. This method also ensures all of the town will become part of the new village.

A webpage of information and documents related to the merger is available here at the Salem website.



  1. Steve K says:

    What if they incorporate both names. They can call it either SALEM SILVER LAKE or SILVER SALEM LAKE.

  2. Illegal? says:

    How is it that a border agreement between governmental bodies can be used to eliminate one of them. We have 2 governmental bodies now. There will be one when this is finished. Seems this should be handled by annexing or some other method. (most of which required the citizens to vote)
    They tried that once, the dissolve movement, but it failed in the vote.

    Border agreements are not intended for this type of merger. One of them ends up gone with no borders at all.

  3. Diane Bandola says:

    Silver Lake will always be known as Silver Lake…..

  4. Mike Ullstrup says:

    Although the term that is used for such an agreement is “boundary agreement”, the state refers to them as “intergovernmental agreements”. The process is outlined in state statute 66.0307 the text of which is on the Town of Salem website. Obviously, since the state Department of Administration must approve all intergovernmental agreements, it is not illegal. This method of incorporation is described in the final report of the Salem Incorporation Study Committee, also on the town website. This method does not require a referendum, the other two do.

  5. Stephen Nelson says:

    The way I understand it, and as I think Ms. Tesar’s quotation above states. The name of the new “Village” will be changed. In the past we had Salem Township, which encompassed Benet Lake, Camp Lake, Fox River, Lake Shangrila, Salem, Salem Oaks, Trevor, Voltz Lake, and Wilmot. Those “town names” will remain as will the name, Silver Lake, but the Township will now disappear and become the Village of Salem Lakes. Does that make sense and do I have that right. It’s a good solution. You never have to change what town you say you live in. I’m from Salem. Nothing’s changed. It’s easy for me to say, I grew up in Washington Township, NJ. It is a village called a township! To make matters more confusing we shared a post office and zip code with Westwood and we went to the Westwood school system, until later when they got separated for reasons of overcrowding in the Baby Boom. So I have always said “I am from Washington Twp. Or Westwood, or whatever I thought would be the simplest answer to the question, where are you from!

  6. Anyone surprised? says:

    Really people, is anyone surprised by this? Silver Lake and Salem pushed this through with very little chance for people to voice their opinion. What’s the rush? Why not allow the residents/taxpayers an opportunity to vote? Why should a handful of board members make the decision that will affect over 14,000 residents? The boards from both towns should be ashamed of themselves!

  7. Perplexed in Paris says:

    @Anyone surprised”: Sorry…this was not “pushed through” and residents of both communities have PLENTY of opportunity to “voice their opinion” There was no “rush”. Both Silver Lake and Salem boards should be VERY PROUD of how they handled this transformation. Compare that to the NIGHTMARE Paris residents are experiencing if you are looking for some board to blame!!!!

  8. Nashing of teeth, until says:

    There will be a nashing of teeth unti lthe first tax bill arrives at the hamlet of silver lake households and they see a drastic reduciton in their taxes. Town hamlets, not so much. But there will no increae in thier taxes dur to land loss inthe future and could well see a decrease.

    We are a representative government in both the village and the town. The representatives get to make these decisions because they were elected. Instead of the boards being ashamed, those who are accusing them of not representing the citizens well should be the ones to be ashamed. The boards should be praised and the committee which advanced the methodology to make this happen should be given high honors. The committee was composed of regular people doing a super detailed job. We are all lucky that the ones on the committee took it seriously. I have seen committees work. They are often playful and wasteful. Not so with this committee. Their info and their info was spot on.

    Everyone in the new village will benefit. Those living here, those working here, those conducting business and those partaking in recreation.

    Anyone not in favor of this, has simply not done their homework.

  9. Brent says:

    I have tried looking numerous places and cannot find how this is a benefit to the taxpayers, in fact from what I understand this will cause taxes to go up in Salem so can someone please explain how this is a good thing?

  10. Selectinve in releasing comments?? says:

    Oh yes… very….

  11. Brent? says:

    Brent? BRENT WHO? Have you looked at the website yet? Spoken with Mike Ullstrtup who has always suggested that he could be contacted… left a message at the town for him to reach you? Spoken with any board member? Be prepared to spend some time. It is not a three sentence explanation. Even here, on WOTI the information has been given so if you need one on one, (which by the way is very nice!!!!), then contact mike… He has said he will meet up with you at the library or the town hall or???? AUTOMATICALLY becoming a village does NOT make taxes go up. If the elected officials are fiscally prudent (you need to elect the right folks) then the taxes you pay for the services you get will always be worth the money… Make the contact. Bring pen and paper and welcome in to the world of government!

  12. to Perplexed: says:

    Did residents from Salem or Silver Lake have an opportunity to vote on this? NO. Allowing 25 people an opportunity to speak at a meeting is not the same as allowing people to vote…. period.

  13. To Nashing: says:

    did you move to Silver Lake to save $50 to $100 a year on your taxes? I sure didn’t. Nopenz, and his merry group of back room buddies should be very proud they sold over 2,000 residents out for less than what it costs to buy a family dinner.

  14. Concerned says:

    Taxes. While the Silver Lake residents mill rate may go down taxes could still go up. Silver Lake taxes covered by ultmill rate currently include things like garbage pickup. In Salem they are not covered by mill rate but are an extra $219 per year. If Silver Lake simply removed the garbage fees from the taxes within the mill rate we would see a big drop in mill rate. Then they could charge for it separately. End result- mill rate goes down but the total money collected remains the same.
    If you look at your tax bill you will see that only a portion of it is for Silver Lake. Most of it is state, grade school, high school, Gateway Tech.
    So more the amount you pay now to the village tax. When the merger happens watch that $ number go up! Be sure to include the extras, garbage assessment etc.
    Merging has some advantages but the disadvantages are being skirted over, they don’t want to talk about them.
    Let’s see what happens. I

  15. Toney stone says:

    Hey Bernard imagine the possibilities now that we’re called Salem lakes you can actually change your identity again!

  16. Greg says:

    Come on Concerned ,,, don’t start pointing out stuff that will help people see the truth in how they were duped by a bunch of simpletons. I mean clearly they have everything all planned out and don’t want pesky things like the truth facts to get in the way!!!

  17. Nothing says:

    I went to the suggested Salem website and saw why it’s good for Salem to become
    A village, didn’t see anything that showed how it was good for Silver Lake. Before the normal yahoos pipe in with their talking points they’ve been spoon fed, like “reduce duplication of services, lower taxes, mill rate will go down”, I say show me where you got this data. Also show me the breakdown of things we will be paying more for, garbage pickup , etc.

  18. Real story says:

    The real story is Salem was scared thAt if they didn’t become a Village, they could lose land to Silver Lake and Paddock Lake . They were looking into the cost of becoming a village, which could have been several hundred of thousands of dollars. But then Salem got very lucky. The talked a few of the new board members in Silver Lake into trying to dissolve their village. When that didn’t work they helped them come up with merging with Salem. By doing this Salem gets land protection, becomes a village for Free, and gets taxes from an additional 2,000 residents. Silver lake gets….. well after figuring how much extra Silver Lake residents will pay for garbage removal , probably will pay the same in taxes. All that and we lost our local police, our boat patrol, and we lost any say in how our Village will be run. And who’s advise did outer board take when looking into this? A person who writes plays and radio shows for a living. You can’t make this stuff up!!

  19. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Toney stone……….ahh….we will STILL live in the hamlet of Silver Lake..what part of the agreement do you not understand? Stating that I may now change my identity “again”(your words, not mine) implies that I have changed it in the past. I have not. I REMAIN…the beloved Bernard Punsley…to the delight of most, the chagrin of a few…..including Toney stone!

  20. To Greg Galich says:

    why not try to be part of the solution instead of the problem? Or do you find it easier to sit at the gas station every morning and whine? It’s a shame you aren’t bright enough to know that the other women there are tired of listening to you

  21. Toney stone says:

    Thanks Bernard loss of services and higher taxes hope you’re happy

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