Information on the Referendum on the Town of Vernon Becoming a Village

The following information was sent in flyer/letter form to each Town of Vernon resident via USPS.  View & Printable Version: Information on the Referendum

Information on the Referendum on the Town of Vernon Becoming a Village

As Town Clerk/Treasurer, I have heard many questions about the upcoming Referendum on the Town of Vernon becoming a Village. I want to take this opportunity to describe the questions I’ve received and my responses. 
                                                                                                  ~ Karen L. Schuh, Town Clerk/Treasurer

Q1: What is this Referendum about? As more fully explained in the most recent Vernon View (see Chairman Carl Fortner’s article), Wisconsin statute section 66.02162(1)(a) allows a town to become a village provided the town meets 8 criteria. Please note that section 66.02162(1)(a) is different than the general incorporation statute that requires different criteria – criteria that are difficult for Vernon to meet now or in the future. Section 66.02162(1)(a) expires on June 30, 2020 and will not apply in the future. Having satisfied and certified all 8 criteria, the Town Board called for this special election for a binding referendum for residents to vote on becoming a Village. This will be your only opportunity to vote for Vernon to become a Village under Section 66.02162(1)(a).

Q2: When is the Election? June 2, 2020. Polls are open 7 AM to 8 PM.

Q3: Where do we Vote? All residents voting in person on June 2 vote at Town Hall.

Q4: How do we vote by absentee ballot or early in-person? Information on absentee and in person early voting can be found in the most recent Vernon View and at: 2020 Spring/Summer Newsletter

Q5: Why did the Town Board pursue incorporating Vernon as a Village? To allow the Town electorate to vote for or against this opportunity to protect against outside influences. For example, neighboring cities and villages can annex land from towns. Becoming a village will stop annexations of town lands. Vernon has lost thousands of acres to the Villages of Big Bend and Mukwonago and the City of Muskego. Becom-ing a Village will keep Vernon intact the way it is today as it stops annexations.

Villages are also able to operate under “home rule” meaning villages have an expanded ability to enact and enforce their own regulations, including zoning and development codes, including shoreland, largely free of county oversight. (Vernon has opted out of county zoning gener-ally but is not permitted as a town to opt out completely.) Villages are also free of extraterritorial plat approval powers surrounding large cities (1st, 2nd, and 3rd class) have within 3 miles of town borders, and villages and smaller cities (4th class) have within 1.5 miles of town bor-ders. Vernon as a town is subject to extraterritorial plat approval powers of the Cities of Waukesha, New Berlin, and Muskego, and the Villages of Big Bend and Mukwonago. Only a small portion of Vernon is not subject to extraterritorial plat approval. Vernon will no longer be subject to extraterritorial plat approval after becoming a Village. In addition, towns can be subject to certain statutory extraterritorial zoning powers State law grants to villages and cities, within the same land as the extraterritorial plat approval jurisdiction. The town would be relieved of such outside extraterritorial zoning influence if the town became a village. An extraterritorial jurisdiction map of Vernon, showing areas where extraterritorial plat review and extraterritorial zoning powers can be exercised by surrounding communities within the town at this time, can be found at:  TOV Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Map

Q6: Will Vernon raise my taxes if it becomes a Village? Levy limits imposed by the State of Wisconsin effectively freeze the tax levy. Towns, villages, and cities are all subject to the same levy limits. Moreover, taxes are a function of the levy and cost of providing services. Vernon does not need to increase the level of services if the Town becomes a Village. In addition, villages (unlike towns) have secure borders, allowing them to retain their tax base, which allows villages to avoid raising taxes on remaining property owners and residents and to better afford any additional costs without raising their tax rate. Towns can become fragmented, making the delivery of services more difficult and expensive, forcing towns to reduce services and/or raise taxes.

Q7: Will Vernon be required to have its own police and fire departments if it becomes a Village? If Vernon becomes a Village, then Vernon will be required to provide police and fire protection services under Wisconsin statute section 61.65. There are several ways to provide police services, for example, by contract with the County or a neighboring municipality. Vernon intends to consider its alternatives. There is no requirement that Vernon must establish its own police department. Vernon currently has its own fire department that will continue if Vernon becomes a Village.

Q8: Will Vernon be required to provide sewer and water if it becomes a Village? Vernon does not need to provide sewer or water if it be-comes a Village. However, Vernon did recently establish a town sanitary district as explained in the most recent Vernon View. There is no plan to provide sanitary services to all or any portion of the town except for the Sanitary District No. 1 property. Sanitary District No. 1 consists of one property - Fire Station #1. There is no plan to build a sewer treatment facility. There is no plan for sewer service other than as stated for Sanitary District No. 1. There is no plan to provide water.

Q9: Are any parts of Vernon left out of the new Village? No. The entire town will become a Village if the referendum is approved.

Q10: What will happen to the school district boundaries if it becomes a Village? Nothing. School district boundaries are independent of town, village, and city limits.

Q11: Will Vernon be required to have a separate post office if it becomes a Village? No.

Q12: Will Vernon be required to change its hunting or boating rules if it becomes a Village? No.

Q13: Will becoming a Village change the suburban/rural character of Vernon? No. Becoming a Village in and of itself will not change the character of Vernon.

Q14: Will Vernon be required to have a library if it becomes a Village? No.

Q15: Will Vernon be required to hold town meetings if it becomes a Village? No. However, a Village Board can provide for village meetings. Village residents can initiate new and changes to ordinances through direct legislation.

Q16: What happens to the Town Board if Vernon becomes a Village? The Town Board becomes the Village Board until a new Village Board is elected.

Q17: What happens to Vernon’s ordinances and zoning code if Vernon becomes a Village? Vernon’s ordinances and zoning code become the Village ordinances and zoning code.

Q18: What if the referendum fails? Vernon remains a town. As explained in Q1, Wisconsin statute section 66.02162(1)(a) expires on June 30, 2020 and will not apply in the future. This will be your only opportunity to vote for Vernon to become a Village under this state law.

If you still have questions or concerns, please contact a Town Board Member :

Board Member Phone
 Carl Fortner, Chairman   414-731-2301
 Jim Slawny - Supervisor #1  262-442-7267
 Gary Wilde, Supervisor #2  262-922-0005
 Fred Michalek, Supervisor #3  262-662-5044
 Laureen Dashek, Supervisor #4  414-852-4307
   



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