Salem and Silver Lake approve merger agreement

The Salem Town Board and the Silver Lake Village Board on Wednesday both adopted a cooperative plan that will ultimately result in the two municipalities becoming a single village.

Both boards’ votes — made at separate, simultaneous  meetings — were unanimous. No public comment was on the agenda of either meeting.

But the outcome of the Salem vote was in question right up to the end. Supervisor Dennis Faber, during discussion of the resolution, said he had not decided at that point how he would vote. He was bothered by the name of the new municipality — Salem Lakes. Given the heritage of the name Salem, in existence since 1842, before Wisconsin was even a state, Faber said he wanted that name to continue and he was unsatisfied with the amount of discussion about the matter.

“I just think with 147 years, it merited a discussion between the two boards,” Faber said. “I’m not sure how I’m going to vote because that bothers me.”

Faber added he was not adverse to the new name in the sense that it is indicative of a major feature of the combined municipality — nine named lakes. In the end, he voted for the resolution, his voice low with emotion during some of his comments and the vote.

The name also came up as a minor sticking point at the Silver Lake meeting too.

“It’a not a name for the town that I would really particularly choose, but I can live with it,” said Trustee Pat Dunn.

Trustee Eric Ericksen said he would have preferred a completely new name.

Village President Bruce Nopenz said disagreement on the name actually imperiled the agreement being finalized, but he was glad it was worked out in the end.

“The benefit to the community at large outweighed the name,” Nopenz said. “I think in time this will be recognized as one of the best achievements for these two communities.”

The next step in the process will be Aug. 26, which will be the deadline for an advisory referendum, both of which would have to be initiated by a petition drive.

On Sept. 6, the agreement will be submitted to the state Department of Administration, which has 90 days to approve it, said Salem administrator Patrick Casey.

Note: Karen Hillock contributed to this report. — DH



  1. mbradleyc says:

    This is a great decision, good for everyone. The name is perfect. It’s what I would have chosen.

    Now Randall and Twin Lakes need to merge in some form. There’s almost nothing left of Randall anyway.

    Too bad about Paris and the Somers takeover. I wish there was a way for Towns without sufficient population to incorporate to be left intact. Paris, Brighton and Wheatland should not have to be swallowed up like that.

  2. Kudos to Salem & Silver Lake says:

    When two municipalities work together for their mutual benefit, neither extorts the other for $10 million in payments.

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