Calling it a major step forward in protecting our lakes, streams, rivers, and drinking water and in planning for attractive communities, today (May 12, 2006), elected officials representing Dane County’s local governments called for the creation of the Capital Area Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (CARPC).
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor David Cieslewicz, Middleton Mayor Doug Zwank, DeForest Village President Jeff Miller (the past vice president and current president, respectively, of the Dane County Cities & Villages Association), and Town of Bristol Chair Jerry Derr (president of the Dane County Towns Association) announced they have agreed on a resolution asking the Governor to create CARPC. The Governor may do so if the resolution is passed by a combination of Dane County cities, villages, and towns with more than half the population and property value.
The five officials said: “The key mission of the CARPC will be working with our towns, villages, cities, and county to plan for our urban growth with protection for our vital water resources: our lakes, rivers, streams, springs, wetlands, and groundwater. CARPC will do such planning on a cooperative, pro-active, long-term basis, all of which we need more of.”
CARPC will have the following features:
· CARPC’S most important task is recommending where Urban Service Area (USA) expansions should occur in Dane County. A USA is land that is or legally can be served with public sewers. The availability of public sewers is key to where urban development occurs. The decision if, when, and where a USA expansion occurs is an extremely important part of deciding where urban growth should occur.
· A thirteen member Commission consisting of four members appointed by the Madison Mayor, three by the Cities & Villages Association, three by the Towns Association, and three by the County Executive, each serving a three-year term.
· Most of the funding for CARPC will come from the source designated by state law. CARPC will set an amount to fund its activities, which must then be included in the county budget. Under state statute, the maximum amount equals .003% of equalized value in the County. Under this plan, the communities agree to a much lower limit, .0017% of equalized value in the County. The difference amounts in estimated ’07 dollars to about $550,000 less in property taxes.
· In order to ensure strong budget oversight, the committee setting CARPC’s budget will consist of four elected officials: The Mayor of Madison, the County Executive, the President of the Cities & Villages Association (a mayor or village president), and the President of the Towns Association (a town chairperson).
· In planning for urban development and updating the Dane County Water Quality Plan, CARPC shall work with communities to develop 25-year Future Urban Development Areas. The objective is to assist communities in long-range planning that provides for the protection of natural resources and orderly growth. These plans will be updated every five years and will take the form of recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). CARPC staff will begin the cooperative planning process by providing communities the best available information and maps on key water resources in the areas in communities might grow.
The four officials continued: “With the elimination of the Dane County Regional Planning Commission over a year ago, we did not have an orderly process for deciding where and how much our communities which depend on sewer expansion should grow. Although many of these decisions are routine, some cover hundreds of acres of potential development and can be quite controversial. Our proposal means these decisions will be made in an open, fair, and orderly process. It also means that a community’s growth potential and the need to protect nearby water resources will be treated in a balanced fashion.”
Finally, we recognize that our constituents want us to cooperate as a region whenever possible to plan and deliver services as fairly and efficiently as possible. We think this proposal represents a big step forward in that cooperation.”
"The biggest challenge we face as a region is how to manage our growth in a way that protects the qualities that make our communities special," said Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "To do so effectively, we need to work across municipal boundaries and collaborate as a region. The regional planning commission gives us a new tool for working together."
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said: “Our citizens cherish the waters found throughout the County. Given the abundance of these waters, it’s understandable that a community’s growth, if not carefully planned, might pose some risk to some of these waters. This agreement helps us keep our waters clean and healthy and cities, villages, and towns growing the best way.”
Town of Bristol Chair and President of the Dane County Towns Association Jerry Derr said: “Finally after years of hard work and negotiation we have a water quality planning agency that will benefit all of Dane County. We can work together for a better future for all of us.”
Village of DeForest President and Cities and Villages Association President Jeff Miller said: “This collaboration among all entities is a good start to continuing to build intergovernmental cooperation.”
A copy of the agreement is attached.