Welcome to the Town of Paris Website.
We hope that you take a look around and provide feedback on how we can make your Town of Paris information source more useful to you.
Welcome to the Town of Paris Website.
We hope that you take a look around and provide feedback on how we can make your Town of Paris information source more useful to you.
Closed for Labor Day
Monday, September 5, 2016
Town Board Meeting
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 7:00 pm
Dear Paris resident,
As you are likely aware, there has been much discussion recently, and unfortunately much misinformation as well, regarding the recent Paris-Somers intergovernmental agreement (IGA). Over the past several months, Town officials have been addressing individual residents’ questions regarding the IGA during one-on-one conversations, but because the agreement is so significant to all Town residents, and so vital to the entire Town’s future, the Town Board thought it important that everyone should have access to the questions and answers that have been raised by their fellow residents.
Some of the more frequently expressed questions and concerns are addressed below. The Town also plans to try to answer additional questions as they come up via future postings on the Town’s website. Residents are also encouraged to attend future Town Board meetings to stay involved in Town business, and during which they can express their views to the entire Board during public comment.
We love Paris, too—that’s why we negotiated the IGA. To fully understand the reasons for the IGA, a little background is in order.
The first factor to bear in mind is that Paris is a town, and under state law, towns are subject to piecemeal annexation by incorporated villages and cities. Therefore, without some sort of boundary protection agreement in place, Paris stood to lose residents and territory without having any say at all in the process. Towns also don’t have access to the same tools to facilitate development, such as tax incremental financing, as are available to incorporated municipalities under state law.
Another significant factor, intertwined with the first, is that Paris abuts the I-94 corridor, one of the fastest developing areas of the state and, indeed, of the entire region. That being the case, it was only a matter of time before the significant development pressure that can already be seen taking shape along the Interstate began impacting Paris directly. Faced with such intense development pressure, the Town Board recognized that unless something was done, and done soon, not only was the Town certain to lose this highly valuable territory along the Interstate as it developed but, even worse, Paris would have no input over how the land developed, which could have had a very negative impact on the remaining portions of the Town and its residents.
The final factor contributing to the need for the IGA is the questionable long-term future of the Waste Management landfill. For decades, Paris has received annual payments from Waste Management for hosting the landfill, which have enabled Paris to completely fund its operations without a town tax and also to pay most of the County tax obligations of its residents. While these payments have been a remarkable blessing, they have also led to a situation in which the Town is, at present, entirely dependent on the landfill’s continued operation. In recent years, however, due to changes in state law and other factors, Waste Management’s annual payments to the Town have been reduced significantly, and the previously unthinkable prospect of the landfill’s closure has even been discussed. So the Town Board has been forced to grapple with the fact that the Town’s sole revenue source is diminishing and could go away altogether.
Most communities faced with this situation could protect their residents by fostering business development to diversify the community’s tax base. Before the IGA, though, this approach would have been counterproductive for Paris. That is because the Town has no tax levy of its own, and it also pays the lion’s share of its residents’ County taxes, so the effect is that any new development in Paris actually hurts the Town’s finances, because development generates no tax revenue for the Town and it causes Paris to make ever-larger outlays to cover the development’s (often significant) County tax obligation, further depleting the Town’s coffers.
Unless something changed, therefore, Paris faced the prospect of losing residents and territory to annexation, and the Town’s reserves to diminishing landfill payments and increased County tax outlays, all of which would result in a situation where Town residents would not only have to bear their full County taxes, but also the full costs of operating the Town, with very little new development to help carry the costs.
The Paris-Somers IGA addresses all these concerns.
First and foremost, the agreement gives the Town meaningful boundary protection. For the duration of the IGA, no additional land can be annexed into Somers without the approval of a supermajority of the intergovernmental commission, which is half controlled by Paris. Moreover, if Somers were to let the agreement lapse at the end of its 10-year term, the Village would have to repay all amounts it received from Paris under the IGA, plus interest, plus an additional amount equating to 20 years’ future value of the area that was transferred to Somers under the IGA.
The IGA addresses the Town’s other concerns as well. In addition to the boundary protection, the IGA puts in place a mechanism by which Paris can ensure that the transferred area develops in manner consistent with the Town’s long-term plan. The IGA also sets up a commission, answerable to the parties’ respective boards and, ultimately, to the voters, to see to it that the agreement is fairly implemented and to facilitate the area’s development. Finally, the IGA enables Paris and its residents to actually share in the financial benefits of that development, by enabling area property owners to capitalize on the value of their land when and as they see fit.
In short, the IGA addresses all of the Town’s most pressing problems and allows Paris to remain Paris.
Absolutely not. The nature of negotiations is such that each party must be able to keep its strategy discussions confidential so that its interests and negotiating position aren’t compromised. For this reason, state law allows local government discussions regarding negotiations of this sort to be held in closed session.
That being said, though, it was important to the Town Board that as soon as the draft IGA was in a form that appeared to be close to final, it should be released to the public. In fact, Paris began releasing drafts of the agreement to the public even before the final details were worked out with Somers. Paris officials also worked with a local Internet newspaper to keep the most up-to-date drafts of the IGA available online. Moreover, rather than simply give the minimal public notice required by state statute, Paris sent notice of the public hearing to every Town resident. Town officials also actively sought to inform Paris residents about the details of IGA, by going door-to-door to discuss it with residents, and by holding “office hours” at the Town Hall, totaling 18 hours over three days, for the express purpose of addressing any questions or concerns that residents had.
Paris representatives have had numerous conversations over the years with Kenosha officials, including relatively recently, regarding a possible agreement between the City and Town that would both protect the Town’s boundaries and also provide for mutually-beneficial cost sharing to facilitate development. Unfortunately, because of the way state law treats towns as opposed to cities, Kenosha had very little incentive to discuss any agreement with Paris that would have benefited both parties, rather than just the City. After Somers recently incorporated, though, the new village indicated to Paris that it was both able and willing to enter negotiations for an IGA that would be mutually-beneficial to the parties, rather than completely one-sided.
Paris is making a one-time payment of $1.25 million to Somers under the IGA. To understand the reason for the payment, it’s important to bear in mind that, under state law, a city or village can annex land from a town without any compensation at all to the town for the lost territory. Therefore, IGAs that include boundary protection for a town, like the current IGA does, almost always require the town to make a payment to the incorporated municipality in exchange for the boundary protection. In this case, that payment is $1.25 million. The agreement also provides for the payment by Paris of up to $500,000 to defray Somers’ costs related to implementing the IGA.
Weighed against the many benefits of the IGA, including securing meaningful boundary protection and enabling the Town to share in the transferred area’s economic growth, and considering the size of the payment relative to the overall value of the Town’s reserve, which has been saved up over the years largely for this purpose, the Town Board considers this money well spent. Moreover, under the agreement, the Town will actually recoup these payments over time, because the Town will receive revenue under the IGA that it would not have received otherwise, since the Town has no tax levy of its own. In fact, because the transferred area has the potential to become one of the most successful development areas in the state, Paris could actually end up recouping its IGA investment many times over.
It’s also worth noting that the amount Paris is paying under this IGA is significantly less than amounts paid by other towns under similar agreements. For example, as part of the recent IGA between the Town of Somers and the City of Kenosha, Somers had to pay the City $5 million to secure it borders. Likewise, when officials from Paris and Kenosha had preliminary discussions a few years back regarding a possible Paris-Kenosha IGA, the City indicated that it would require a payment of $10 million from Paris as part of the deal—and even that huge amount would have secured Paris’s borders for only a short time. So the amount paid by Paris to Somers under this IGA is both common and reasonable when compared with comparable agreements.
The IGA provides Somers with access to two loan funds provided by Paris. One loan, which is capped at $3 million, provides Somers with a source of funds to offset any new costs that it incurs strictly as a result of the agreement. Because, by definition, Somers would not have incurred such costs in the first place absent the IGA, the parties agreed that it was appropriate that this $3 million loan fund would be interest-free.
The second loan fund, which is a revolving loan fund capped at $5 million, can be used by Somers for any lawful purpose. Somers does pay interest to the Town on this revolving loan fund. The IGA is structured, though, such that Somers is able to realize a lower interest rate under the IGA than it otherwise would have had to pay, yet also that Paris is made whole by Somers’ interest payments relative to the earnings that the Town would have otherwise received on its funds. So the revolving loan is a win-win for the communities. Plus, the revolving loan fund allows Somers to improve its overall credit rating, which will end up saving both communities money when it comes time to finance the development of the transferred area. In the end, because Paris will share equally in the area’s development under the IGA, the Town has a vested interest in seeing to it that the area attracts the best development possible. The IGA’s loan provisions will help make that happen.
Not at all. Somers currently gets water and sewer service from the City of Kenosha and there is absolutely nothing in or about the IGA that prohibits Kenosha from providing water and sewer service to the transferred area as well. In fact, Somers’ attorneys who negotiated the Village’s IGA with the City have indicated that they believe the current agreements already require Kenosha to provide water and sewer service to the entire Village, including the new areas that were added under the IGA. Given this fact, and given the vital importance to the county, region and, indeed, the entire state of ensuring that this gateway to Wisconsin is developed to its highest and best use, the Town Board is confident that the area will be served with water and sewer in relatively short order.
It’s also worth noting that the cost of constructing new water and sewer mains will almost certainly be paid for by new development in the area, so extending services would likely cost Kenosha nothing. To the contrary, providing water and sewer service to the transferred area would actually benefit the City, by bringing in hundreds of new utility customers to help pay for the City’s existing water and sewer infrastructure. Not to mention, of course, that facilitating new development in the transferred area would create hundreds of new jobs and dramatically benefit the entire region economically, particularly Kenosha as the largest nearby community. So there’s no reason that Kenosha couldn’t provide water and sewer service to the transferred area and several good reasons that it should want to do so.
If Kenosha nevertheless chooses to fight the extension of water and sewer service to the transferred territory, therefore, it could only mean that having new customers for its utilities and a share of the value of new development isn’t enough for the City—that Kenosha demands it all for itself, including that residents must be forced into the City to get water and sewer, where their taxes would be more than twice as high as they would be in Somers. By contrast to Kenosha’s approach, the Paris-Somers IGA sets up a situation where all three communities, as well as residents both in the area being transferred and those remaining in the Town, are best positioned to reap the benefits of the area’s inevitable future economic development and growth. And, frankly, if Kenosha does insist on taking a “my way or the highway”-type approach to the area and to its neighboring communities, that’s all the more reason that the IGA and its boundary protection are vital to the Town’s interests.
Almost as soon as the IGA was effective, the City of Kenosha and a few Paris residents filed suit against Somers challenging the agreement. The lawsuit alleges that Somers made various procedural missteps regarding the IGA’s approval, which they believe should nullify the agreement. Paris was recently brought into the suit as well by three property owners who claim that they never received the public hearing notice that was sent to them via certified mail. The Town is confident that it followed proper procedures in approving the IGA.
An additional claim was recently added to the lawsuit alleging that Paris wrongfully rejected a petition seeking a referendum on the IGA. As discussed below, the Town does not agree with this most recent allegation either.
No. The petitioners’ contention that they filed an adequate number of signatures is based on their position that it is only those electors in the area transferred from Paris to Somers that should count toward the petition threshold, and presumably only those electors who should be allowed to vote on the IGA were a referendum election held. The Town Clerk concluded, though, as did Somers’ clerk when he was presented with petitions seeking a referendum on the Somers Village-Town consolidation IGA just last year, that it is actually the number of electors in the entire Town from which the adequacy of referendum petitions must be based and who, if the referendum were triggered, would get to vote on the IGA. Significantly, Somers’ Clerk’s determination was challenged to the state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) by a person who made the exact same argument the petitioners now allege, and the GAB determined that the Somers’ clerk’s determination was not improper.
In essence, the petitioners argue that it is only their voice that should count regarding the IGA. The Somers and Paris Clerks, however, read the statute as providing that, because the IGA affects the entire Town, all Town voters should have a voice as to whether there should be referendum and, if so, whether the IGA should take effect. The GAB previously reviewed this exact issue and affirmed the Clerks’ reading.
You should always feel free to direct any questions to the Town Clerk at the Town Hall, who will do her best to answer your questions or to direct them to the person best suited to do so. The Town will also work to provide residents with periodic updates via the Town website, which can be viewed at www.town-of-paris.org.
As always, thank you for your continued support and interest in Town government.
Town of Paris
In Re: Petition Pursuant To § 66.0301(6)(C)(2), Wis. Stats., For A Referendum To Disapprove The Intermunicipal Cooperation Agreement Between The Town Of Paris And Village Of Somers Approved On April 7, 2016 And Published On April 14, 2016.
On April 29, 2016, I was served with thirteen petition pages seeking to hold a referendum on the recent intermunicipal agreement between the Town of Paris and Village of Somers, which was published on April 14, 2016. I refrained from undertaking anything more than a cursory review of any of the petitions at that time because, by law, additional petition signatures could have been submitted anytime until May 13, 2016, and also because it is my understanding that correction affidavits could have been submitted for three additional days beyond that date. That being the case, I waited to closely examine the petitions until after I knew they were, in fact, complete. Not only did this ensure that I would not have to duplicate my efforts, but it also gave the circulators every opportunity to make sure that the petitions were in the form they intended.
REVIEW AND EXAMINATION OF PETITIONS
I have reviewed and examined the petitions, and the petitions themselves appear to be in proper form.
The thirteen petitions contain 90 signatures in total. Of these, two signers’ signatures were repeated, as both Nada and Tomislav Djakovic each signed petitions on April 16th and again on April 27th. Therefore two of the Djakovics’ four signatures were disregarded. Another petition entry, the last one on the 4/25/16 petition, which was submitted by Joseph Kolnik, is so indecipherable, in terms of signature, printed name, and address, that I am unable to discern any meaningful information from it at all, so that signature, too, was rejected. Additionally, based on my own personal knowledge of certain individual petition signers, I have doubts as to whether five more petition signatures are, indeed, those of qualified Town of Paris electors, but because information appearing on the petitions is presumed to be accurate, and because the petition circulators attested that all signers are qualified Paris electors, I am nevertheless treating those five signatures as being valid. Therefore, in all, I found 87 qualified signatures on the thirteen petition pages.
CERTIFICATION OF INSUFFICIENCY
The statute in question provides, in section 66.0301(6)(c)(2), that, “A referendum shall be held if, within 30 days after the publication of the agreement, a petition for a referendum conforming to the requirements of s. 8.40, signed by at least 20 percent of the electors residing within the territory whose jurisdiction is subject to change as a result of the agreement is filed, in accordance with s. 8.37, with the clerk of each municipality that is a party to the agreement.” Therefore, in order to trigger a referendum on the intermunicipal agreement, the 87 qualified petition signatures that were submitted would have to be at least 20 percent of “the electors residing within the territory whose jurisdiction is subject to change as a result of the agreement…”
Last year, the Village of Somers and the Town of Somers entered into an intermunicipal agreement under the exact same statutory section as the current agreement between the Town of Paris and the Village of Somers. With respect to the Somers-Somers agreement, the Somers Clerk read the statutory language “the territory whose jurisdiction is subject to change” to mean the entire Town of Somers. The Somers’ determination was based on the language in the statute and the fact that the agreement would have a significant impact on not just those property owners that would be moved, but also on the entire town. Somers’ determination that the referendum threshold applied to the entire town, and not just to the specific areas that would be moved, was appealed to the State of Wisconsin Government Accountability Board by a Somers resident. The GAB reviewed the question and concluded, just a few months ago, that Somers’ interpretation of the statutory referendum threshold language neither violated election law nor represented an abuse of discretion.
Given this history and, even more importantly, the specific determination made by GAB just a few months ago, I conclude, as did Somers’ Clerk, that the threshold against which the number of petition signatures must be measured is the number of electors in the entire Town of Paris, which I believe is 1,037. This interpretation is consistent with the approach that Somers took, it is consistent with the recent GAB determination, and it also simply makes sense, given the fact that the proposed Paris-Somers agreement will have a significant impact on all Town residents, not just those residents who are subject to being moved.
The 87 qualified petition signatures that were submitted falls well short of the 208-elector threshold required by the statute. Therefore, it is my determination that the petitions that were submitted on April 29, 2016 are insufficient to require a referendum on the intermunicipal agreement between the Town of Paris and the Village of Somers described above.
Certified at the Town of Paris this 20th day of May, 2016.
TOWN OF PARIS
Beverly McCumber, Town Clerk
Town Clerk Statement Regarding IGA Petitions
On April 29th, I received 13 petitions seeking a referendum to disapprove the recent intergovernmental agreement between the Town of Paris and the Village of Somers. The time for submitting additional petitions has now run.
My preliminary review of the petitions indicates that there are a total of 90 signatures, but I’ll be reviewing the petitions and signatures in greater detail to determine their validity under state law. On or before Friday, May 20, 2016, I’ll be issuing a written determination as to whether the petitions are adequate to trigger a referendum on the intergovernmental agreement, and I’ll post the determination and send a copy of that determination to the petition circulators.
Posted: Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
Town of Paris
Town of Paris Residents
Noxious Weed Notice
Notice is hereby given, to each and every person who owns, occupies, or controls land in the Town of Paris, County of Kenosha, State of Wisconsin, to cut or destroy all noxious weeds such as Canada Thistle, Leafy Spurge, Field Bindweed (Creeping Jenny), etc. on all lands owned, occupied or controlled by you in the Town of Paris. The term “destroy” means the complete killing of weed plants above the surface of the ground by the use of chemicals, cutting, tillage cropping system, pasturing livestock, or any or all of these, if effective, combinations, at such time and in such manner as will effectively prevent such plants from maturing to the bloom or flower state as required by the Wisconsin Statutes Sec. 66.0407.
Notice of Newly Enacted Ordinance
Please take notice that on January 26, 2016, the Town of Paris enacted the following ordinance:
Ordinance No. 2016-1-26-A entitled:
AN ORDINANCE TO REPEAL ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6-39 AND TO AMEND SECTIONS 10-11 AND 10-12 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE TOWN OF PARIS, KENOSHA, COUNTY, WISCONSIN ENTITLED “SHOOTING RANGES,” “DEFINITIONS” AND “USE OF WEAPONS REGULATED” TO INCORPORATE RECENT LEGISLATION
The ordinance repeals an ordinance addressing shooting range permits, and revises provisions related to the discharge of firearms and dangerous weapons. The ordinance is subject to the general penalty section of the Town’s ordinances.
The full text of the above ordinance may be obtained at the Clerk’s office for the Town of Paris, 16607 Burlington Rd, Union Grove, WI 53182. The Town Clerk’s phone number is ()262) 859-3006.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, the Town of Paris will have Fire Signs, aka Red Address Markers, installed this Fall.
PLEASE NOTIFY the Town Clerk if you need a replacement of have any questions.
NOTICE OF NEWLY ENACTED ORDINANCE
Please take notice that on July 28, 2015, the Town of Paris enacted the following ordinance: Ordinance No. 2015-7-28 entitled:
AN ORDINANCE TO CREATE SECTION 7-19 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE TOWN OF PARIS, KENOSHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN ENTITLED “UNIFORM ADDRESS SIGNS FOR HOUSES AND BUILDINGS”
The ordinance establishes standards for the installation, cost and replacement of uniform address signs used for more easily locating properties in the event of a sheriff, fire or other emergency response, as well as serving the interests of the traveling public. The ordinance also sets forth penalties for violations of its provisions.
The full text of the above ordinance may be obtained at the Clerk’s office for the Town of Paris, 16607 Burlington Rd, Union Grove, WI 53182. The Town Clerk’s phone number is (262) 859-3006.
All garbage and recycling MUST be placed in the appropriate containers. You need to plan accordingly to be able to lift your items into the containers. If your items are heavy, please bring help with you. If you feel your items might be useful to someone else, please take them to Good Will or some other similar resale facility. DO NOT leave any items sitting on the ground by containers.
ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND TVS ARE BANNED FROM LANDFILLS BY THE WDNR. Those items are NOT acceptable here at Pheasant Run.
Notice of Newly Enacted Ordinance
Please take notice that on August 26, 2014, the Town of Paris enacted the following ordinance: Ordinance No. 2014-7-22 entitled:
AN ORDINANCE TO CREATE CHAPTER 12, ARTICLE III ENTITLED “WEIGHT LIMITATIONS ON TOWN HIGHWAYS” AND SECTION 12-15 ENTITLED “CLASS B HIGHWAYS” OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE TOWN OF PARIS, KENOSHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN
The ordinance designates all town highways within the Town of Paris as Class B highways subject to the weight limitations set forth in Chapter 348 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The ordinance lists various exemptions from the weight limitations and establishes a procedure for further exemption requests. The ordinance also sets forth penalties for violations of its provisions.
The full text of the above ordinance may be obtained at the Clerk’s office for the Town of Paris, 16607 Burlington Rd, Union Grove, WI 53182, and through the Town’s Website at http://town-of-paris.org/. The Town Clerk’s phone number is (262) 859-3006.
ORDINANCE NO. 2014-7-22
AN ORDINANCE TO CREATE CHAPTER 12, ARTICLE III ENTITLED “WEIGHT LIMITATIONS ON TOWN HIGHWAYS” AND SECTION 12-15 ENTITLED
“CLASS B HIGHWAYS” OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE
TOWN OF PARIS, KENOSHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN
The Town Board of the Town of Paris, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, do ordain as follows:
1. That Chapter 12 Article III of the Municipal Code of the Town of Paris entitled “Weight Limitations on Town Highways” be, and hereby is, created.
2. That Section 12-15 of the Municipal Code of the Town of Paris entitled “Class B Highways” be, and hereby is, created to read as follows:
“Sec. 12-15. Class B Highways.
(a) Designated. All town highways within the Town of Paris are designated as Class B highways and shall be subject to the weight limitations imposed by Wis. Stat. § 348.16(2).
(b) Pickup/delivery exception. Any motor vehicle whose operation is pickup or delivery, including operation for the purpose of moving or delivering supplies or commodities to or from any place of business or residence that has an entrance on a Class B Highway, may pick up or deliver on a Class B highway without complying with the gross vehicle weight limitations imposed by sub. (a).
(c) Exemption from Class B weight restrictions. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 348.16(2), the weight limitations do not apply from April 24, 2014 to January 1, 2020 to a potato harvester or an implement of husbandry or agricultural commercial motor vehicle being operated or transported as described in Wis. Stat. § 348.15(9)(e) or (f)1. In addition, the town board may for good cause shown exempt certain motor vehicles on a case-by-case basis, from the Class B weight restrictions. Such exemption is dependent on the following criteria:
(2) Number and frequency of trips requested; and
(3) Reason for overweight trips.
A request for an exception of the Class B weight restriction shall be made in writing to the town board addressing the criteria set out in this subsection. Requests for exemptions shall be placed on the next regularly scheduled board meeting agenda. If an exemption is needed prior to the next town board meeting, then the town chairperson may grant a temporary exemption if good cause is shown by the requestor. The town may place conditions on any exemption granted, including the posting of a cash bond or letter of credit. Any exemption granted, except a temporary exemption, is valid for a period of one-year, unless a shorter time period is set by the town board. An exemption granted under this section does not exempt the motor vehicle from any state department of transportation or county permit requirements.
(d) Posting requirements. The town chairperson, or his or her designee, shall place appropriate traffic signs on the above-described highways before enforcement of this ordinance.
(e) Prohibition and forfeiture. No person may operate any vehicle on the above-noted highways in violation of the weight limits set forth in Wis. Stat. § 348.16(2). Upon conviction for a violation of this ordinance, the violator shall pay a forfeiture of not less than $5.00 nor more than $250.00, plus the applicable surcharges, assessments, and costs for each violation. Each trip in violation of this ordinance constitutes a separate offense. In addition, the town board may seek injunctive relief from a court of record to enjoin further violations.”
3. That this ordinance shall take effect upon adoption and publication as provided by law.
Adopted this 26th day of August, 2014.
TOWN OF PARIS