The fate of the village of Keeseville is at the center of a nine month study that is expected to end with a public vote.
The village will be hosting a pair of representatives from Fairweather Consulting at a Jan. 31 meeting to start the process of looking into dissolving the village into the towns of AuSable and Chesterfield, since the village boundaries lie within both town municipalities.
“They call it a kick-off meeting and it is part of the required work plan that we get from the state,” Keeseville Mayor Meegan Rock said. “It will be an introduction to the process to the committee by the firm and the Department of State.”
Members of the committee charged with looking into the option of dissolving the village includes six taxpayers, Rock, Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald “Gerry” Morrow and AuSable Supervisor Sandra Senecal.
Rock said that the total outline for the survey requires a nine-month process, which will include at least two public hearings on the matter. The study is following a state outline because it is being funded by a state grant for $44,898, with 5 percent of the study being funded by taxpayers.
For the opening meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Keeseville board room on the 31st, Rock felt that the meeting would be more “laid back,” focusing on a general outline of what had to happen over the next nine months before a potential vote by village residents on dissolution.
Rock said that, like many residents of the three governments, she has questions that she hopes will be answered throughout the process.
“I am sure that a lot of people will want to know who will be plowing their roads, will their garbage pickup continue, what will happen to their town taxes if the village dissolves,” Rock said. “These are all questions that I have, too, along with what would happen with village employees.”
The funding from the state is part of a program to encourage municipalities and other organizations to look into the possibility of consolidation of services or merging, which the village of Keeseville would do into the towns of AuSable and Chesterfield.
“They have been pushing this for over 30 years,” Rock said.
Locally, in March of 2010, village of Port Henry voters rejected the idea of dissolving the village government. Lake George officials opted not to move the issue to a vote in the same year.
In 1993, both the villages of Ticonderoga and Westport were dissolved. In Ticonderoga, the village Police Department took on the role of a town department. The village of Elizabethtown was dissolved in 1992, while the village of Bloomingdale was dissolved in 1986.
The villages of Mooers and Champlain are considering similar measures.