Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Annexation compromise reached

The City of Madison, the Town of Madison, and the City of Fitchburg are in the midst of arranging an intergovernmental agreement that would transfer parts of the Town of Madison to Fitchburg, and others to the City of Madison over the next 20 years.

“[This is] a unique opportunity now to approve a sensible, rational boundary between the cities of Madison and Fitchburg, while respecting the interests of the Town of Madison residents,” Madison Mayor Sue Bauman said.

However, because Fitchburg only wants to annex parts of the Town of Madison, which has a high number of minorities and renters, some say the arrangement appears to be racially motivated.

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Poorer areas of the town often appear to be left in limbo, according to Stephen Braunginn, president of the Urban League of Greater Madison.

Braunginn and other opponents of the agreement have urged support for a protest-petition drive, in hopes of stopping the process.

“Our percentage of racial mix is predominately minorities in the town. There are more minorities than whites. Fitchburg has a higher concentration of minorities than the City of Madison — I don’t know how anyone could characterize that as racist,” Fitchburg Mayor Mark Vivian said.

One of Fitchburg’s main interests in the agreement is attaining Beltline property.

“In a suburban community, with lots of residential properties, you need a diversified tax base to encourage community development. One of the most profitable ways to do that is to get Beltline exposure. Through this agreement, Fitchburg will get three major accesses to the Beltline: Rimrock Road, Highway 14, and Fish Hatchery Road.” Vivian said.

According to Attorney Richard Nordeng, representing the Town of Madison, the town’s main interests include retaining its government for as long as possible.

“We also want to make sure that if the cities take town land, that it is done in an orderly way to make sure that residents do not experience deteriorating services. Town employees need some form of job protection for if the town goes out of business,” Nordeng said.

“I believe the public in general will benefit in a big way because this agreement will bring peace in place of border wars that have been going on for 50 years,” Nordeng added. “Huge amounts of money and resources have been expended, especially by the City of Madison and the Town of Madison in territorial battles in the past. Another benefit is the certainty of the future assured to town residents — they now know that as a town, they are financially viable.”

According to Vivian, if the municipal governments pass the agreement, it will need approval by the State Department of Administration. He said this will probably take place next summer.

If the agreement is ratified, some properties will transfer immediately.

“The Mortenson Investment Group would go immediately to the City of Madison, though there would be revenue sharing between the two communities for several years,” Vivian said. “Fitchburg would get about 31 acres of undevelopable conservancy land from Madison.”

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