Press-Republican

July 11, 2013

Keeseville adopts dissolution plan

BY LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — KEESEVILLE — The final plan directing how the Village of Keeseville will wind down its existence has been put into place.

The dissolution plan was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Keeseville Village Board Tuesday night, setting in motion the mechanism by which the village will end its existence as a municipality on Dec. 31, 2014.

In February, voters decided 268 to 176 to dissolve the village and turn its assets over to the surrounding towns.

State law mandated that the Village Board pass a plan to guide how that will handled.

NO CHANGES

On Tuesday, village trustees approved the plan created by the Joint Village Dissolution Study Committee without making any changes.

“We’ve been over this and over this,” Mayor Dale Holderman said. “Is there anyone who wants to change anything in this plan?”

None of the trustees did, although Holderman asked that the “Agreements With Towns” section of the plan be changed to eliminate a directive that intermunicipal services agreements would be established with the surrounding towns of Chesterfield and AuSable.

Trustee Mary King said she didn’t agree and that certain services, such as water and sewer, would be transferred to the surrounding towns if Keeseville dissolved.

“I think it’s a lot of writing (in the plan), but we should leave it in,” King said. “If they (the two towns) don’t honor what the plan says, they have to answer to the people.”

“It’s too close to the end of the process,” Trustee Robin Bezio said. “If we start playing with it now, it could open a can of worms.”

Trustee John Casey said the plan is not binding on the towns anyway, and Holderman withdrew his suggestion.

Trustee Kathleen Klages moved to accept the plan, seconded by King, and the board gave its unanimous OK to the final blueprint for dissolution.

No changes were made to the plan after the two public hearings in June, village officials said, nor were any requested by members of the public who attended.

PETITION EXPECTED

Outside the meeting, Holderman said the dissolution plan itself is now subject to a permissive referendum.

“Once the plan is adopted, it opens a 45-day window for a petition on the plan. If we get a valid petition, it goes to a vote. If the vote is opposed, the village doesn’t dissolve.”

The petition requires the signatures of 25 percent of Keeseville’s registered voters. Keeseville has about 955 registered voters out of 1,800 residents, so a petition with about 256 valid signatures would be necessary to hold a public vote on the plan.

Holderman said he believes a petition will be filed within the 45-day window.

“I think it’s 99.9 percent certain we’ll get a petition,” he said.

READ THE PLAN

Village Clerk Lynn Hathaway said the public can come to the Village Office and view the plan, and it can also be downloaded from: keeseville.ning.com.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com