Lisbon Votes on Merger with Sussex Tuesday
The long-awaited vote to merge will be on the back of Lisbon’s primary election ballot on Tuesday.
After months of public forums and opposition from both Lisbon residents and members on the Town Board, the decision to potentially consolidate Lisbon with the Village of Sussex will be on the back of Tuesday’s primary ballot.
According to the Sussex Sun, the back of the ballot will read, "If the terms of the consolidation were reasonable, would you be 'for' or 'against' the consolidation of Lisbon and Sussex into a new municipality?"
However, the referendum will only be on Lisbon residents’ ballots to gauge how interested locals are in the potential merger. The vote is also nonbinding, meaning it’s just to give the Town Board direction on whether or not to proceed.
During the latest public forum at the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, Waukesha County officials like County Executive Dan Vrakas and Sheriff Dan Trawicki said they supported the idea to continue investigating the consolidation. While they didn’t specifically say whether they supported the actual merger, Trawicki said Lisbon residents need to let go of any hard feelings.
“I see no reason why you would vote against just moving forward,” Trawicki said. “It makes no sense to me to vote to say you’re not even interested in listening… You’ve got to turn the page. Sussex did some things that you all think are wrong. And I think Lisbon did some things that they all think are wrong.”
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But some Lisbon Town Board members agreed that, even if there were a majority vote on Tuesday to continue looking into the merger, it would need to be a vast majority. They said they’d strike down the consolidation if residents voted in favor of the plan by only a small number of votes.
"There is going to have to be a strong indication of support for the board to proceed, Ryan and I might have a slight difference in how you define strong," said Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
While a consolidation could mean higher taxes for Lisbon residents and lower taxes for Sussex residents, it would increase the level of services Lisbon residents are currently receiving. If the town doesn’t merge with Sussex, Gehrke says Lisbon will struggle with maintaining the current quality of life for residents without drastically increasing taxes.
To read more about the effects of a merger, check out Patch’s article from the last public forum. Also, be sure to check back with Sussex Patch to see how Lisbon residents voted. Those numbers will be published as soon as they’re released.