The Town Board of Prairie du Sac has issued a letter urging neighboring towns to join in formally asking that any petition to establish a utility district to provide municipal water for residents near the Badger Army Ammunition Plant be put to a referendum. The March 16 letter responds to a proposal by the US Army and the US Dairy Forage Research Center to jointly petition for the utility district as the two majority landowners.
“While we understand that the Wisconsin State Statutes provide several different methods for petitioning the formation of such a district, we do not believe that the current method being used by two majority land owners – the Department of the Army and the USDA – is at all appropriate in this particular situation,” the Prairie du Sac town board wrote.
“This process allows 2 of the 300+ affected property owners to solely determine the need for the system although all the property owners in the proposed district are impacted by this decision and yet are not allowed a voice,” the town board emphasized.
“It is also unusual, if not unprecedented, that two government agencies that have no long term vested interest in the establishment of the district, other than terminating a public trust obligation, can be the sole judges of the benefits of the systems, without the input of local residents of the proposed district,” the board added.
“We ask that the Merrimac Town Board reject any petition by the majority property owners – US Army and USDA – and instead request that these interested parties place a referendum on the ballot so that a democratic process is followed that allows all affected property owners in the district their due process,” the town’s letter concluded.
The Prairie du Sac Town Board letter was sent to the US Army, US Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Towns of Merrimac and Sumpter, the Village of Prairie du Sac, and state representatives of the area. The petition is the first step toward approving a rural municipal water system proposed by the US Army.