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Kekoskee boundary case argued before state Supreme Court
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Kekoskee boundary case argued before state Supreme Court

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Oral arguments were made before the state Supreme Court in the Kekoskee case. 

A long-running case in Dodge County made its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Thursday.

Lawyers for the village of Kekoskee, the state Department of Administration and the city of Mayville appeared virtually before the state Supreme Court justices for oral arguments. The case stems from the Department of Administration’s 2018 approval of an agreement to attach the village of Kekoskee and the unincorporated town of Williamstown to form a larger Kekoskee that surrounds the city of Mayville, which has operated ever since.

Mayville sued, with concerns over its ability to annex land and grow, and the case has gone through Dodge County Circuit Court and the state appeals court, both of which ruled in Mayville’s favor. The appeals court determined last fall that Mayville should have been considered a party to the plan over provisions for a “detachment area” that would allow agreements for Kekoskee land to become part of Mayville and receive more services.

Kekoskee attorney Matt Parmentier said the plan originally came up as a way to save Kekoskee from having no governing body. He argued that the appeals court was wrong under state law when it decided that Mayville had to be a party to the plan. He also argued that Mayville does not have standing to bring the case. Claw Kawski, attorney for the state, echoed Kekoskee.

They argue that the plan doesn’t specify any changes to Mayville’s borders, just that they could change in the future, and the appeals court misapplied sections of the law. They also said Mayville Common Council never passed a resolution to be a part of the plan, saying in briefs that Mayville did not take certain procedural steps to become a party, instead filing a lawsuit.

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They ultimately want the Supreme Court to determine that Mayville does not have standing and did not have to be a party to the plan in order to keep the state’s decision in place.

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Mayville attorney James Hammes said the town wanted to prevent Mayville from exercising its authority over land outside its borders. He said Kekoskee and Williamstown passed their own resolutions while excluding Mayville from participating in drafting and submitting a plan, so a Mayville resolution would have no effect anyway.

“If Mayville doesn’t have standing to seek judicial review of this decision, who does?” he said. “Can anyone challenge the department’s decision here?”

Hammes said Mayville has spent millions to develop infrastructure for land that could become a part of the city. He argued that, without Mayville, the boundary agreement can’t be enforced and that the department fell down in its decision.

The appeals court decided to send the plan back to the Department of Administration, and the case has been stayed pending further action.

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and chiggins@wiscnews.com.

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