On Halloween 2022, the town of Madison is going to be absorbed into the cities of Madison and Fitchburg in a process known as “attachment.” At that time, current residents of the town of Madison – a small community of several thousand people – will have a new government.
Now, the city of Madison is seeking community navigators to help current town of Madison residents prepare for the switchover.
The navigators will be responsible for reaching out to town residents to inform them about the upcoming attachment process. Angela Puerta, an urban planner with the city of Madison, says those who are bilingual or proficient in a second language are strongly encouraged to apply.
According to estimates from the city, about a third of the town’s residents aren’t fluent in English.
“We’re targeting especially Spanish speaking community navigators, so we can get to the hard-to-reach populations like the LatinX, Hispanic communities that are located in the mobile home park and some other areas of the town,” Puerta says.
Navigators can be either community organizations or individuals. Individuals can earn between one to two thousand dollars for the job, while organizations can net between two to four thousand dollars.
The city of Madison has also launched a website to address residents’ questions and concerns.
As to the attachment’s financial impact to town residents? Puerta says that still needs to be determined. City staff likely won’t be able to release precise tax changes until shortly before the attachment.
“The new tax bills will be sent in December 2022, and they’ll be based on the assessment data that’s being collected that same year – the beginning of 2022,” Puerta says. “People will see the change after December 2022, and we’ll have a better idea of what those assessments will look like probably mid-2022.”
The attachment process has been twenty years in the making. The deal to split the town between Madison and Fitchburg was inked in the early 2000s.
Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson says the initial deal was vague when it came to the exact details of how the attachment would proceed. As he points out, the people who initially signed the contract are long gone.
“When they did this twenty years ago, they didn’t put a lot of thought into when should it be happening, why should it be happening, the challenges associated with that,” Richardson told WORT. “And the people that did that aren’t around anymore, so I have no idea why they decided on October 31st as the date, as opposed to January 1st.”
Richardson says that, in the next 16 months, Madison and Fitchburg will be dividing the town’s services between themselves — an effort to prevent disruptions in the small community.
“Some things, as you know, like the Fire Department and EMS services, they’ve already actually had the City of Madison take those over for now. We expect there will be other services that we will take over early because they can’t continue providing those services,” he says.
In absorbing the town, the city of Madison will also take over management of the area around the Alliant Energy Center — one of the county’s major economic venues and host to some of the state’s largest conventions.
PHOTO: Portions of the Town of Madison will be absorbed into the city of Madison on October 31st, 2022 / City of Madison