A state agency ruling on whether the Town of Brookfield can seek voter approval to become a village would be delayed to give the town time to enter mediation talks with the cities of Brookfield and Waukesha and Village of Sussex.
Unlike , village officials oppose the Town of Brookfield's attempt to become a village. Doing so would protect the town from annexation by neighboring communities like Sussex.
The four municipalities have signed and filed a stipulation, asking Waukesha County Circuit Judge Donald Hassin Jr. to lift a required 180-day deadline for the state to rule on the incorporation case. Also signing was Jay Walt, a Town of Brookfield resident who originally filed the incorporation bid.
Officials with the four communities would meet starting on May 30 with retired Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick Snyder to determine if there are solutions short of the incorporation.
Meanwhile, the Town of Waukesha has filed its appeal of a judge's ruling that town had no standing to intervene in the original incorporation petition, despite the fact that the Town of Brookfield was asking to annex Town of Waukesha land in order to have the minimum required land to become a village.
The May 15 public hearing on incorporation at Town Hall would be canceled, under the mediation stipulation.
At a three-hour mediation session May 30, the Town of Brookfield, Village of Sussex and two cities would offer solutions to objections or say whether they believe there are no solutions.
Further sessions would occur June 21 and 28 as needed.
Boundary talks, service shares could be explored
Avenues to be explored in mediation could include boundary and annexation agreements, consolidation, service swaps or more. However, these options have failed to gain traction in previous talks, particularly between the town and city of Brookfield.
If solutions emerge short of the Town of Brookfield seeking to become a village, they will be written and presented to the four municipalities' elected bodies for action.
If mediation is not successful, the Town of Brookfield (or any of the four) could ask the state to resume its review of the incorporation bid.
The town paid $25,000 to file its request in March with the state Department of Administration, along with a that outlines the rationale for incorporating.
The main reasons for seeking to become a village include protecting the town from annexation by neighboring cities, and preserving its future autonomous government and tax base. The Corners redevelopment proposal, to be anchored by a Von Maur department store, helped prompt the request because the town wants to have that tax base to finance public improvements.
In order to incorporate, because it no longer has the minimum required 4 square miles of territory to become a village or city.
The petition proposes including about 288 acres of continguous land in the Town of Waukesha, south of Greenfield Avenue, west of Springdale Road and east of Highway 164. The lands represent about $35 million in tax base, and includes the former Walmart store and Don Jacobs car dealership, Town of Brookfield attorney James Hammes has said.