Tim Weidemann of Rondout Consulting led the recent Keeseville dissolution study committee meeting
The Keeseville dissolution study committee is almost finished.
About eight months ago, a study committee to determine the economic effects of dissolving the Village of Keeseville into neighboring towns Chesterfield and Au Sable Forks was formed.
Tim Weidemann, founder of Rondout Consulting, has been involved in all aspects of the dissolution study, including conducting a fiscal analysis of dissolution options.
Weidemann led a dissolution study committee discussion on Sept. 25, which was open to the public and took place at the village hall in Keeseville.
Weidemann announced that study committee members have voiced concerns that some of the savings dissolution could bring to village residents were previously overstated.
The result, he said, was an amended plan that shows that not all village residents will see savings if dissolution occurs.
To handle the village’s water and sewer needs, the towns would have to create water and sewer districts, something Weidmann recommended establishing before dissolution goes to a vote.
Garbage pickup in the former village would also need to be figured out.
According to the updated report, the change in water, sewer and garbage services could result in an increase by as much as $190 per year for village residents.
Weidemann said that, although village residents stand to see their property taxes decrease if dissolution occurs, residents who consume a lot of municipal resources might end up paying more than they are currently paying for those services, which could offset any property tax savings.
The study also shows that, after dissolution, tax rates could decrease for residents in Chesterfield and Au Sable Forks.
In the wake of dissolution, about 13 village positions would also be eliminated, including: village mayor, deputy mayor, three village trustees and deputy clerk.
Eight new positions would in turn be created: sewer operator, sewer clerk, sewer laborer and seasonal laborer in Au Sable Forks and water operator, water clerk, water laborer and highway equipment operator in Chesterfield.
All retirement contracts with current village employees would be terminated, but village specific post-employee benefits like health care would continue to be provided to employees who retire prior to dissolution.
Employees transferred to one of the towns would assume the benefits provided by that town.
And then there is the price of dissolution itself.
Weidemann estimated that dissolution would cost village residents between $20,000 and $25,0000 , which includes both legal and accounting fees, appraisals, and costs related to the termination of former employees.
To cover the cost, the village could seek a grant from the New York State department of state’s local government efficiency grant program.
Keeseville Mayor Dale Holderman also announced that a petition, initiated and signed by registered voters in the village, was turned in to the village’s town clerk Sept. 25.
The petition contained 122 signatures, 119 of which were verified as registered voters. The amount of signatures is more than the 10 percent of registered voter signatures required to force the issue of dissolution to a village-wide vote.
“The board of trustees was very pleased the petition came in because now the weight is off their shoulders, and that’s the way I wanted it to go anyway,” Holderman said.
Holderman has spoken out against dissolution, and even went as far as to include a letter to that effect with the village’s September water bill.
The final public dissolution meeting will be held Oct. 17, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Keeseville Firehouse.