Colfax annexes Evergreen Cemetery

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  Evergreen Cemetery will now officially be part of the Village of Colfax.

Following a public hearing on the matter February 10, the Colfax Village Board approved an ordinance to annex Evergreen Cemetery.

Prior to this, although the village owned the cemetery, it was located in the Town of Colfax.

No members of the public attended the public hearing to speak either for or against annexing Evergreen Cemetery.

The annexation includes the First Addition to Evergreen Cemetery and the Second Addition, all located in Section 15 of the township.

The Second Addition is on land that was previously used as a school forest.

Peoples State Bank deeded 28 acres to the Colfax school district in 1943 to be used for a school forest.

According to the warranty deed, the land was to be used by the school district for “reforestation purposes” and when the school district was no longer using the land for trees, the land could only be used for the cemetery.

The trees were removed from that area within the last ten years, and even though village officials had initially assumed that the village owned the new cemetery addition, the land still officially belonged to the Colfax school district.

Last year, the Colfax Board of Education approved deeding the property to the village.

The Colfax Village Board learned last month from Ron Jasperson, a surveyor with Cedar Corporation who worked on the CSM for the cemetery addition, that the new addition to Evergreen Cemetery will add 2,450 burial lots and 480 cremation lots.

The Colfax Village Board approved a contract with Cedar Corporation in the amount of $7,950 for surveying the cemetery in July of 2012.

The village board also paid about $7,000 before that to a different surveyor who worked on the cemetery.

Ordinance 2014-02, adopted by the Colfax Village Board at the February 10 meeting, notes that property is, and has been, owned by the Village of Colfax and the School District of Colfax, and that the property is and has been tax exempt.

Since the property is tax exempt, after the annexation, the Village of Colfax does not owe any money to the Town of Colfax.

According to Wisconsin State Statute 66.0217(14)(1), territory cannot be annexed by a city or a village unless the municipality agrees to make an annual payment to the township for five years equal to the amount of property taxes levied on the annexed territory as shown on the tax roll in the year in which the land was annexed.

Evergreen Cemetery will officially be located within the village limits following publication of the ordinance in the February 19 edition of the Colfax Messenger.

The Colfax Village Board voted unanimously to annex Evergreen Cemetery.