The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees voted to close the study started in 2008 that may have move the municipality towards becoming a city.
It looks as though the “Capital of the Adirondacks” will not become a city.
In a contested vote, Saranac Lake Village Board members March 26 decided to close out a study that may have led to the village to change its municipal designation to a city. In 2008, the village received a grant to study the feasibility of a coterminous boundary between the village and the town of Harrietstown. The study left a few different options, including moving boundaries and dissolution.
“The preferred option out of the study was the creation of a city,” Community Development Director Jeremy Evans told board members.
The study was completed about two years ago, and state officials had requested that the village close out the project since there hasn’t been any action on it for the past couple of years. Evans said it would be better for the village to take the lead on closing out the project, instead of waiting for the state to do it.
“I really want to make sure that the members of the committees that were involved got the recognition they were due,” Evans said. “Passing the resolution in front of you does that.”
The resolution passed with a 3-2 vote -- Mayor Clyde Rabideau and trustees Tom Catillaz and John McEneany in favor and trustees Elias “Allie” Pelletieri and Jeff Branch opposed.
“I’m a little disappointed with this resolution,” Pelletieri said, adding that the plan estimated an increase of $900,000 in sales tax revenue. “If you had $900,000 now, that would be 25 percent of the general fund.”
Pelletieri said he never attended a meeting with committee members to talk about the study
“I think this is blindly going down just to satisfy the AMA (American Management Association) annexation, where the mayor promised that to (St. Armand Town Supervisor) Joyce Morency, said it was dead, it was in the paper,” Pelletieri said. “He told those words to Joyce Morency without consulting the board or the committee, so I think this was inappropriately taken up, and I’m sorry to see that the time has run out.”
Branch voiced his opposition as well.
“I think we’re missing a good opportunity,” he said. “Granted, it’s a long shot, but sometimes long shots are worth taking.”
Branch said the Village Board should wait until the next meeting, when incoming Trustee Paul Van Cott could have the opportunity to speak on the matter.
“He thought it was a worthy pursuit,” Branch said.
Evans, however, explained that the timing of this resolution was important because the expiration date of the grant is March 31.
Then the conversation returned to the AMA annexation.
“I agree with Allie. The only reason this is being done is because Joyce Morency made it a contingency upon the AMA annexation,” Branch said.
Casting his yes vote, the mayor defended his views on the AMA annexation and his conversation with the St. Armand town supervisor.
“What I told Joyce Morency was this,” Rabideau said. “(Sen.) Betty Little said it was dead on arrival. It’s not going to go anywhere. That’s what I told her. And I told her personally that I don’t support it because it’s not going to go anywhere. I can speak for myself. And I only spoke for myself.”
Rabideau said he recently had the same conversation with Little.
“So what I told her was the absolute truth, and I will continue to speak my mind, whenever I am able to and when I feel it’s appropriate,” Rabideau said.
The Saranac Lake Village Board meets again at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 9 at the Harrietstown Town Hall and will hold its organizational meeting, swearing in two new trustees: Van Cott and Barb Rice.