Boundary Agreement Law

Three types of boundary agreements are authorized by Wisconsin statutes.  They are:
In addition, the statutes provide authority to share revenue under s. 66.0305 Wis. Stats. and tie these arrangements together with boundary agreements.

 

Legislative Activity


 
2007 Wisconsin Act 43 - Developed by the Joint Legislative Council's Special Committee on Municipal Annexation, this Act:
  • Streamlined and simplified the cooperative boundary agreement process by reducing minimum statutory waiting periods and permitting the current detailed planning requirements to be substituted by a community's comprehensive plan. 
  • Cleared up current uncertainty with using boundary agreements under s. 66.0301 and s. 66.0225 Wis.Stats. by expressly indicating when and how those types of agreements may be used.
  • Encouraged alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for resolving municipal boundary disputes by inserting a reference to ADR into the annexation statutes, by requiring DOA to develop and maintain an online list of ADR professionals, and by creating a mediated agreement procedure for cities, villages, and towns to use to get their municipal neighbors to come to the table to negotiate a cooperative boundary agreement under s. 66.0307 Wis.Stats.   Communities refusing to negotiate are penalized.

Cases

City of Mayville v. State of Wisconsin and Village of Kekoskee - Supreme Court upholds Court of Appeals and Dodge County Circuit Court in invalidated a cooperative plan between the Village of Kekoskee and Town of Williamstown which had been approved by the Department of Administration.  The cooperative plan sought to merge the Town of Williamstown and Village of Kekoskee due to Kekoskee's declining population which made functioning as a municipality increasingly difficult.  The Supreme Court held that the neighboring City of Mayville should have been a party to their cooperative plan because Mayville the plan impacted Mayville's annexation and extraterritorial authorities within Town of Williamstown territory.​

City of Mayville v. State of Wisconsin and Village of Kekoskee (2020) - Court of Appeals invalidates a Cooperative Plan between the Village of Kekoskee and Town of Williamstown which had sought to resolve the Village of Kekoskee's difficulties in continuing as a village.  The Plan had proposed merging the Village and Town together to create a larger Village of K​ekoskee with additional population and territory.  The Court of Appeals found that the Plan's merger would impact the neighoring City of Mayville and therefore the City should have been included as a party to the Cooperative Plan.

 
City of Kaukauna, City of Menasha, Village of Sherwood, Nona Kyle, John Van Treeck, Patricia Kuepper v. Town and Village of Harrison (2015) - shortly after its incorporation, the new Village of Harrison entered into a boundary agreement under s. 66.0301 Wis. Stats. with the remaining Town of Harrison to transfer nearly all of the Town's lands to the new Village as well as to provide for share in service delivery.  The plaintiffs contended that this agreement is void because it exceeds the scope allowed by statute, and because the Village and Town failed to strictly comply with statutory notice requirements.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding the notice requirements met and finding no express prohibition in the law against the Village and Town sharing services and agreeing to transfer territory.

 
Town of Buchanan v. Village of Kimberly (2011) - the Court of Appeals upheld the circuit court's finding that an agreement between the Town and Village was not actually a legitimate boundary agreement that complied with s. 66.0301 Wis. Stats.  As a result, the Village was not able to claim the boundary agreement exception to the statutory requirement that it pay to the Town 5 years' worth of lost property tax revenue lost due to an annexation of Town territory to the Village. UNPUBLISHED

 
Kenosha 2020 LLC v. Wisconsin Department of Administration [UNPUBLISHED] (2003) – the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s dismissal of Kenosha 2020’s claim that the Wisconsin Department improperly approved a boundary agreement between the City of Kenosha and Town of Bristol. Kenosha 2020 was not able to show standing. It could not provide specifics about how it was harmed by the boundary agreement.

 
Town of Hartford v. City of Hartford (2001) - Circuit court invalidated the communities' 1999 boundary agreement which had been developed under s. 66.30 Wis. Stats.  The court found the agreement delegation of authority to the City lacked clear and defined limits.  


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