On Oct. 31, 2022, the Town of Madison will cease to exist and will be absorbed, upon a predetermined boundary line, by the City of Madison and the City of Fitchburg. The dissolution of the town is based upon the terms of an agreement (the “Cooperative Plan”) entered into by the City of Madison, the City of Fitchburg, and the Town of Madison in 2003. The process, of dissolving the Town and wrapping up its business, is called the Final Attachment.
Many people are familiar with the term annexation, which describes the statutory process when a City or Village expands by adding territory from an adjoining Town. An attachment has the same result, but occurs not based upon statutory processes, but based upon processes determined by the municipalities involved through a Cooperative Plan. The end result, the territory in question is brought into the City or Village, is the same, even if the process is different.
Prior to entering into the Cooperative Plan, there were numerous annexations of Town of Madison territory by both the City of Madison and the City of Fitchburg. In addition, there were legislative efforts at that time by the City of Madison to annex the entire Town, and subsequent litigation by Fitchburg to partially block that and cause some of the Town to annex to Fitchburg. Based upon these actions, the prospect of further boundary disputes and protracted litigation and an uncertain long-term future for the Town, the parties explored a boundary agreement that would determine the Town’s future with certainty, end boundary disputes over Town territory, and establish a basis for the intergovernmental cooperation between the parties.
The Cooperative Plan was the end result of these actions, and allows for the orderly transition of Town territory from town to city government, preserves the Town’s financial integrity while it remains operational, and established long-term boundaries, assuring orderly growth and development and providing services efficiently to all residents in the area. The Plan was approved by all three municipalities and the State of Wisconsin and has been amended once.
In 2020, the City of Madison agreed to take over the fire, emergency medical and building inspection services from the Town of Madison, effective Nov. 1, 2020. This change in service will be noticed immediately by Town residents as the City of Madison will now be responding to calls for service in the Town along with inspection related services. Upon final attachment in 2022, Fitchburg will take over service over the Town lands that will attach to Fitchburg.
Final attachment of the Town to the Cities will directly impact all Town residents, property owners and employees, and, to a lesser extent, the residents, property owners and employees of the Cities. Town residents will be immediately eligible for City services and programs, and will vote in the November 2022 election in the Cities.
Town property owners will also be eligible for City programs, and will receive 2022 tax bills from the Cities. Town employees who are not offered comparable employment with the Cities, will be given predetermined severance benefits based upon their years of service. Upon final attachment, there will be an impact on existing City operations due to absorbing the Town. It is important to note that the Final Attachment and dissolution of the Town has no bearing upon school districts or school assignments. That is still an issue for the school district(s).
Please visit the service changes page for more detail from each City agency with an update for incoming residents.