Sunday, January 10, 2010

Town v. City: Appleton Post-Crescent on Municipal Identity

A good map is hard to find.
(And this is not a particularly good one.)

Link to January 10 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Grand Chute still trying to escape Appleton shadow".

There is at least one similarity to Retiring Guy's situation. Many Town of Middleton residents assume they live in the City of Middleton.

The topic of libraries isn't addressed in the Post-Crescent article, but during the mid-1990s, the Town of Middleton administrator made repeated efforts -- all of them unsuccessful -- to cut the town's library tax bill from the county. He even floated the idea of a joint library with the City of Middleton, offering up a level of support that was about half of what had been budgeted for the county library tax. Needless to say, the suggestion went nowhere.

(Sidebar) excerpt:
Towns vs. cities

Towns are the traditional form of local government in Wisconsin and the only one that still allows residents direct local decision-making authority by votes at annual meetings.

Towns cover the vast majority of Wisconsin's territory, but most of that is sparsely populated.

Towns tend to offer basic local services so their operating costs are kept low. They take pride in preserving America's directly democratic heritage.

Cities and villages are home to most of the state's population but little of its land. Their governments are more complex than those of towns and they offer the more sophisticated array of services required in urbanized areas.

Successful cities expand their boundaries at the expense of neighboring towns, acquiring land through annexations sought by landowners needing utilities and services.

Grand Chute is a town, but its population, predominantly urban character, service levels and tax base are more typical of a city. A boundary agreement with the city of Appleton protects the town's territory west of State 47 eliminating much of its incentive to incorporate.

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