Keeseville Mayor Dale Holderman.
Members of the Keeseville Dissolution committee met for the first time in two months to go over the services that would still be needed if the village government were to go away.
During the April 25 meeting, consultants Peter Fairweather and Tim Weidmann presented the committee with a first look at a dissolution study and talked about services that are provided in the village as well as in the towns of Chesterfield and Ausable.
“We want to thank the towns and the village for providing the information that we needed,” Weidmann said. “We still need some clarification on the inventory of assets for each, but we have a lot of information to work with.”
Weidmann said the services that are provided by the village were part of three categories: redundant services, equivalent services and unique services. He added that only tax collection and elections were categorized as redundant services, and most fell under equivalent services.
“We have to figure out who is going to do these things where there are equivalent services offered by the town,” Weidmann said. “The easy answer is to continue all non-redundant services, but we want to put options on the table.”
Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said he felt the consolidation of equivalent services was something that the town could take care of without a lot of added tax burden.
“Our people can take on the added water bills or added work load because we have a good system in place,” Morrow said.
Newly-elected Mayor Dale Holderman disagreed.
“I think that it is naive to think that the towns can take care of this additional work load and that the staffs would do that without an increase in pay,” the mayor said.
“The people have picked up extra work before with no problem at all,” Morrow said. “There will really not be that much more work. You do not know how we are set up in the town.”
“What is the additional work,” Ausable Supervisor Sandy Senecal asked. “Water and sewer salaries and fees are something that should already be in place because that is a district that is self-sustaining. Even if one of the current village clerks were to be hired on as support staff for that purpose, it is not going to increase any costs for the town because it has already been taken care of in the district revenues.”
The committee also spent time talking about garbage removal services.
“The town of Chesterfield does offer garbage collection, it is just not door-to-door but through the compaction station,” Morrow said. “Let the private haulers take care of it for those who still want door-to-door service and the others can go to the compaction station.”
“If it is a matter where bringing this service into a budget would be cost prohibitive, then the compaction station does have similar prices to what the village offers now,” Senecal said.
“It’s not a matter of if we can provide this service, but if we can afford to,” Morrow said. “They are not going to want to pay more for the service, and you cannot add an expense to your budget, expecially when you are dealing with a two-percent tax cap.”
Weidmann said the discussion over a topic like garbage pickup was a needed one.
“This is one of those areas that the towns would have to consider and if we can decide this as part of the study, then it can be a big step that we have already covered.”