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April 22, 2013

Keeseville tweaking dissolution plan

KEESEVILLE — Keeseville officials are concentrating on updating financial predictions in their draft village dissolution plan before passing the final version.

Voters approved dissolving the Village of Keeseville in a January vote, and the Village Board has until mid August to pass an official plan for how that disbanding will take place.

The plan will spell out how Keeseville’s functions and property are turned over to the towns of Chesterfield in Essex County and AuSable in Clinton County.

‘SOME FUDGE-FACTOR’

At a recent special meeting, the Keeseville Village Board and Mayor Dale Holderman met with dissolution consultant Timothy Weidemann of Rondout Consulting of Kingston to consider how the draft plan prepared by the Joint Dissolution Study Committee will be tweaked to become the final plan.

“There is no accurate dollar amount of what this is going to cost,” Holderman said. “We have to get those figures from the towns.”

He said town representatives believe they’ll need only a few additional positions, but that expectation may be too conservative.

“We bring 1,800 people to the towns,” Trustee Mary King said. “Why wouldn’t the expectation be to increase positions?”

Adding jobs to town budgets would decrease savings from dissolution, but Weidemann said the dissolution study already takes some of that into account.

“There some fudge-factor already built into the plan. There is no expectation of savings from overestimated tax savings.”

He said other village dissolutions have typically resulted in about a 10 percent increase in town taxes.

“What’s different about Keeseville is some services have already been shifted to the towns’ budgets. On the property tax side, residents will see some savings. That’s what came out of the study.”

Local courts and animal control are already on town budgets, as is property assessing.

NEW POSITIONS

Weidemann said the plan theorizes that new positions like plant operators, highway workers and water-sewer clerks will be needed by the towns after dissolution, and he estimated those costs at $90,000 per town.

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