UNION GROVE CHALLENGES $1.16 MILLION ASSESSMENT
FOR CANAL DREDGING IN ADJACENT VILLAGES
** March 10, 2023 **
The Village of Union Grove is challenging a $1.16 million assessment for canal dredging in the Villages of Yorkville and Raymond.
On December 15, 2022, the Racine County Board of Drainage Commissioners levied a $1.16 million assessment against the Village of Union Grove for dredging and other work to be done in the Yorkville-Raymond Drainage District. The Yorkville-Raymond Drainage District covers ten miles of the West Branch of the Root River Canal and four branch tiles and four branch ditches that drain to the Canal. The Drainage District is located entirely in the Villages of Yorkville and Raymond. No part of the Village of Union Grove is in the Drainage District. (See map.)
The Board of Drainage Commissioners’ assessment is based on a five-year budget amount for the Drainage District of over $3 million. The unelected 5-person Board set this budget and then allocated 36.8% of those costs to Union Grove.
The Village of Union Grove is challenging the assessment, but if the assessment stands, it will have a direct impact on Union Grove property taxpayers. The assessment must be paid in 5 annual installments of $232,960/year.
Union Grove has no source of funds to pay this Drainage District assessment. To pay this assessment Union Grove will be required to cut other necessary expenditures to the detriment of Union Grove residents. Union Grove’s annual allowable tax levy increase under the State’s levy limit law is insufficient to both cover this assessment and pay for critical services.
The Board of Drainage Commissioners contends state law allows it to impose this large assessment for dredging costs on Union Grove. Union Grove disagrees that the Board can charge the Village for dredging the West Branch of the Root River Canal. The Village also questions the constitutionality of a law that would require the Village to collect property taxes from Village residents to pay to dredge a canal and drain property outside of the Village.
Property taxes raised in Union Grove should be used in Union Grove to provide services for Union Grove residents. An unelected Board of Drainage Commissioners should not have the power to compel Union Grove to pay over local property tax revenue to dredge miles of the West Branch of the Root River Canal and ditches located outside of Union Grove.
If you have questions about this press release, please contact Steve Wicklund, Village President, at (262) 620-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org