Monday, February 18, 2008

Bristol a village?

Things are buzzing in the Town of Bristol as work is underway aimed at allowing the town -- or at least a chunk of it -- to incorporate as a village.

It's a long row to hoe and there's no guarantee that an incorporation bid will clear all the hurdles but there's an understandable clash here.

Incorporation supporters correctly point out that town governments have limited powers that can inhibit the ability to foster growth and progress. On the other hand, there are legitimate fears that the "town way of life" will fall by the wayside.

I understand both arguments.

Truth be told, I have a soft spot for Bristol. I treasure the friends and support I've had there for so many years. Many of these folks governed with their hearts as much as their heads and, right or wrong, treated the town as their own home and family.

But times change and I wouldn't be caught alive in my old powder blue leisure suit with white patent leather belt and matching shoes.

Still, incorporation is a complicated and expensive move with a ton of unanswered questions.

Bristol's incorporation would, of course, impact its neighbors and Pleasant Prairie officials have been studying what type of boundary agreement would protect Pleasant Prairie's interests.

To the village board's credit, an open working session was held last Thursday and I encourage them to allow as much openness as possible into the process and, if an agreement is reached, to allow a reasonable time for the public to study and react. The agreement, if reached, could profoundly impact both communities and should be approached with great care.

Things have changed a lot in Bristol since civic minded stalwarts like Noel Elfering and Russ Horton were on the town board. Many, but not all, of those changes are for the better.

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