- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

KEKOSKEE, Wis. (AP) - After nearly 60 years as an incorporated village in Dodge County, Kekoskee is now in the process of dissolution.

“It’s sad. We’re losing our identity,” Kekoskee Village President Lloyd Lechner told the Watertown Daily Times (https://bit.ly/2oYgI6Q ). “We can blame it on the changing times in our society. No one wants to step up and get involved. That’s why we are working on a cooperative plan of transferring the village into the town of Williamstown.”

Lechner, 78, was born, raised and already has his final resting place picked in the Kekoskee Cemetery.

“I became village president two years ago,” he said. “I wanted to see Leroy and Kekoskee join Mayville’s sanitary district. I said, ‘When that is done I am done.’ I am not proud of what’s happening here (with the dissolution). I am certainly not proud to see Kekoskee go, but there is not much I can do when you don’t have officers to run the village.”

Lechner said newsletters were sent out to urge residents to get involved, but only one person came forward and eventually gave up because no else joined him.

“The biggest change is that we have people who are coming from out of the area to live here and just don’t have the interest in becoming involved,” he said. “The young people don’t want to do it; and the majority of residents here are retired and they don’t want to take on any additional load.”

Lechner said what Kekoskee is currently going through other communities may look at and say, “If Kekoskee did it why can’t we do it?”

He said looking back at the April elections there were numerous positions that were unopposed.

“People don’t want to get involved like they once did,” he said. “It’s going to be Kekoskee Unincorporated rather than Kekoskee Incorporated.”

The village of Kekoskee separated from the town of Williamstown in 1958.

“There was some friction between the town and village at the time, but that was a long time ago,” Lechner said.

Town of Williamstown Chairman Don Hilgendorf said he and Lechner want to make the dissolution process as “painless and easy as possible” for everyone involved.

“They could’ve just picked up and left and said, ‘Here you go,’ but they didn’t,” Hilgendorf said.

He said they have to gather information on all their assets and deeds and eventually the village will be turned over to the town.

“Overall, the change may be a headache for some residents in the town,” he said. “We will have to add another mile and a half of roads (which will require repair and snow plowing) that we have not included in our budget.”

He said whenever the town board meets with their attorney there, too, is a cost.

“There are still a lot of things we need to discuss, especially the sanitary district,” Hilgendorf said. “Those who live in the village and are connected to the Mayville sanitary district will have to continue to pay for the service. I don’t see our residents picking up those costs.”

He said this change is no different that Allenton being in the town of Addison.

Lechner said the county would like to see the process completed by year’s end.

“This is new to everyone involved and no one is pointing fingers at anyone at the town or the village,” Hilgendorf said. “We are all working together and trying to make this transfer as smooth as possible.”

Lechner said Kekoskee has a flower shop, two taverns/restaurants and St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

According to the 2010 census, there are 161 people living in Kekoskee and 755 residing in Williamstown.

Hilgendorf said there already have been two meetings between the town and village on the dissolution issue.

The next meeting between the village and town is scheduled for late June in Williamstown.


Information from: Watertown Daily Times, https://www.wdtimes.com

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