Press-Republican

October 20, 2013

Keeseville dissolution-plan vote Tuesday

Voters to weigh in on possible dissolution of village

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — KEESEVILLE — Village of Keeseville voters will decide Tuesday if they want to approve the plan for how their municipality would end its existence.

If the majority do so, the village will be dissolved.

The vote is set for noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall.

The public had voted in January in favor of dissolution, with that date set for Dec. 31, 2014.

But if Tuesday’s referendum on the dissolution plan is to turn it down, the village will remain in place.

DIVESTMENT OF ASSETS

Village trustees previously passed the plan created by the Joint Village Dissolution Study Committee without making any changes. 

Resident Sandra Clodgo then petitioned for a public vote on the plan.

The plan itself specifies how Keeseville’s dissolution would be carried out and its property and services turned over to the towns of Chesterfield in Essex County and AuSable in Clinton County.

The village has $14 million to $16 million in assets that would have to be divested in a dissolution.

VILLAGE LOOKING UP

Village Mayor Dale Holderman said he and the Village Board oppose dissolution, and indirectly, the plan for dissolution.

“I spoke to others whose villages dissolved, and they said taxes ended up being higher because they didn’t anticipate so many things. 

“The board is 100 percent against dissolving the village.”

Recently, Holderman used his newsletter to villagers, The Mayor’s Corner, mailed out with water village bills, to state his case against dissolution.

“I have been your mayor for just over a year and look how far we have come,” he wrote. “There are six new businesses on Front Street, there are new sidewalks going in, we have street paving going on, and many safety items throughout the village are being addressed ...”

He touted the improved financial condition of the village, saying the 2011-12 general-fund budget ended with a $9,488 deficit and ended 2012-13 with a surplus of $141,000, among other positive progress. 

1,800 RESIDENTS

The dissolution study showed that taxes would go down for all property owners in the village, but for those with properties assessed at less than $60,000, the combined amount they pay could increase because their water and sewer fees would be higher.

In Chesterfield, 35 percent of village homeowners have assessments of $50,000 or less, while in AuSable, it’s 31 percent in that category, according to each county’s real property tax offices.

There are 425 residential parcels on the AuSable side and 409 on the Chesterfield side, in a village of about 1,800 residents.

‘NO PROBLEM’

Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said his town should have no problem providing services to Keeseville residents if the village dissolves.

“I’m neutral on the dissolution issue, but the truth is we already provide a lot of services to people who live in the Village of Keeseville,” he said.

“There will be no tax increase, and I will not cut services, except for rubbish removal, an expense the taxpayers pay for even if they don’t use it.

“On the other hand, we have proven in the past when we took over four services from the village when they eliminated them, that we don’t need to raise taxes.”

Chesterfield assumed assessing services, dog control, the local court system and code enforcement/zoning duties, although the village has taken back the code duties.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com