From front left, Keeseville Village Trustee Kathleen Klages, trustee John Casey, attorney John Clute, Mayor Dale Holderman, New York State Department of State representative Sean Maguire, Trustee Mary King and Trustee Robin Bezio.
Keeseville will always be Keeseville, but a vote Tuesday, Oct. 22, will determine if it will continue to be a municipal entity or simply a hamlet shared by two towns and two counties.
Voters will go to the polls from noon to 9 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Village Offices (58 Liberty St.) to determine the fate of the Keeseville Dissolution plan, which was accepted by the village board of trustees in July. A “yes” vote will accept the plan and lead to the dissolution of the incorporated municipality on Dec. 31, 2014. A “no” vote will defeat the plan, voiding the previous vote in February that favored dissolution by a tally of 268-176.
Only residents of the Village of Keeseville, which is located in both Essex and Clinton counties as well as the towns of Ausable and Chesterfield, will be eligible to vote on the proposition.
Since the permissive referendum petition, submitted to the village by Sandra Clodgo with 309 signatures from registered village voters, members of the board have been pushing for a vote against the dissolution plan, led by Mayor Dale Holderman.
“Your board of trustees and I as your mayor are unanimously opposed to dissolving our village,” Holderman said in a letter to village residents. “Our community’s needs are the most important to us … A strong, fiscally responsible, community-minded village government is our answer to move into the future and make Keeseville the desired community to live.”
Holderman also told residents that a lot has changed in his year as mayor.
“Look how far we have come,” he said. “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.”
Holderman also debates whether the towns of Ausable and Chesterfield could provide services for the former village at a reasonable cost, a claim both town supervisors dispute.
“We would have more real estate to take care of, but the highway superintendent did not feel the need to increase staff,” Ausable Supervisor Sandy Senecal said. “We would be adding 3 miles of road, which wouldn’t involve needing a new truck for plowing. We have already been called to help with dog control and assessing, so that is already being done here. When the village opted not to have a code enforcement officer, ours had to step up to the plate. It would be a task, but we would figure it out.”
Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said his town always has village residents in mind when planning because they are also residents of the town.
“Mayor Holderman talked like our town governments are foreign governments, not even in the village community, but truth be told we are in your community and our officials are elected by all of the town of Chesterfield residents, including those who live inside the village.”
Morrow also agreed with Senecal concerning work previously done by the village.
“We have taken over several departments from the village, and we have always been able to do the same work, if not more, for less,” Morrow said. “We have done it with courts, building inspectors and assessors. I am on record as saying if the town taxes were to increase because of the potential dissolution, then I would resign, and I will not cut services to do that.”
For more information on the Keeseville dissolution plan, visit the website Keeseville.ning.com.