Richard Weidmann hands out copies of the draft dissolution plan.
Members of all three municipal boards involved in a potential dissolution of the village of Keeseville got together Aug. 22 as part of the monthly dissolution committee meeting.
The committee, which includes Chesterfield Supervisor Gerry Morrow, Ausable Supervisor Sandi Senecal, Keeseville Mayor Dale Holderman and Trustee Mary King, invited the other members of each organization to the meeting to go over the first look at the draft dissolution plan.
“The plan is the legal document that the village would be using if it were to dissolve,” Tim Weidmann of Rondout Consulting said. “These are the steps that would take place if a dissolution were to happen. Over the next two months, we will wrap up our work and the committee will present their final plan to the board along with any alternatives.”
Weidmann said that the plan is created through the study that the consultants and committee recently worked on.
“The study was an attempt to look at the pros and cons of what would happen if the village were to dissolve,” Weidmann said. “This was not an attempt to say lets go one way or another.”
Based on the study, Weidmann presented the boards with the findings that residents of the village of Keeseville that is part of the town of Ausable would see a potential 50-percent decrease in their taxes, while there would be a 51-percent decrease for residents of the village that is part of the town of Chesterfield. Both towns would see a nine percent decrease for residents who live outside of the current village boundaries.
Members of the village board voiced some concerns over several issues they felt needed to be resolved.
Trustee Mary King said that she wanted assurances that any plans made in the process would be followed if the village were to dissolve.
“The towns do not need to keep any of the agreements that are reached during this process with the village, and I think that is important for people to know,” King said.
“The plan spells out to our best ability what would happen, and if the town boards said one thing and then did another, then the recourse for the voters would be to go to the polls,” Weidmann said.
Trustee John Casey asked about the added workload on town employees in the case of dissolution.
“How can you expect them to take on bigger work loads and more responsibility without extra funding,” Casey questioned.
Morrow said that the towns are not really taking on much added responsibility because it already takes village residents into account since they are also residents of the town.
“The village lies within the town of Chesterfield, not the town lies within the village,” Morrow said. “We always take all of our residents into consideration, whether inside or outside the village lines.”
Trustee Robin Bezio and Holderman each questioned Weidmann about the math that was being used to come up with the potential savings figures.
“The question that we get from the taxpayers is, what is going to happen to our taxes,” Bezio said. “We need to make sure the numbers we use are accurate or we will have people not having accurate information when they vote.”
“When you put out numbers, the public is going to believe those numbers,” Holderman said. “I think that some of these numbers are going to change and that will change the amount that people are going to save.”
Weidmann said that the numbers were calculated based on information collected from the villages and towns as well as using state averages.
“I am willing to stand in front of your residents and tell them that some will see a significant decrease in their taxes,” Weidmann said. “If we have new information, then we will plug it in and get it out there as soon as possible. This is a study that is continuing and may not look the same in two months, but I do feel that, no matter the numbers, the message is going to remain the same that there is a savings here to dissolution.”
The next dissolution committee meeting is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 5 p.m. in the village hall. The final public meeting to present a dissolution plan will take place in October before the plan is turned over to the village board for consideration.