Keeseville Mayor Dale Holderman.
KEESEVILLE — On Sept. 25, residents filed a petition to put the proposed dissolution of the village of Keeseville up to a vote.
New York State law requires that 10 percent of the village’s registered voters, or about 109 signatures, must be obtained for the petition to be accepted.
Keeseville resident Nancy Booth was the contact person for the petition, which contained 122 signatures.
"I signed a petition 30 years ago, wanting to get this to a vote," Booth said. "The people need to speak. Not the board, not the mayor. The public needs to have a voice in this."
Booth added that she thinks the topic of dissolution has been prolonged long enough, and that the village needs to make a decision.
"I want people to get out and vote and voice their opinions," Booth said.
Keeseville Mayor Dale Holderman said he welcomes the chance for residents to vote on dissolution.
“The Board of Trustees was very pleased that a petition came in because the weight is off their shoulders,” Holderman said. “They don’t have to make a decision that makes them look like they’re doing it for another reason. They know the laws for dissolution as well as I do, and they want to give village residents all the opportunities to make the right decision.”
Holderman has said both publically and in a recent letter to village residents that he does not think dissolution should occur.
In a dissolution presentation hosted by Wade Beltramo, a general counsel from the New York Conference of Mayors, on Aug. 28, Holderman stated: “I’m going to continue to try to make the study and the plan the best that I can for the taxpayer, because ultimately, it’s up to them. The thing I don’t like about the dissolution process is that even with all the intermunicipal agreements and the pre-planning you can have, nobody is held to it by law.”
Keeseville Village Clerk Lynn Hathaway now has 10 days (by Oct. 4) from the date the petition was received to review it to verify the legitimacy of all the signatures; that is, to verify that all are registered voters, residents of the village, and have not moved or died since the petition was signed.
Once the clerk has determined the petition is valid, the Village Board will have 30 days from that date (by Nov. 2) to pass a resolution of referendum for village-wide vote, on the proposed dissolution.
Only village residents are eligible to vote.
The date for the referendum must occur within 60-90 days after the enactment of the resolution (Jan. 30 at the latest).
Under New York state law, the referendum can take place regardless of whether a dissolution plan or study has been finalized, or even started.
If village residents vote to move forward with dissolution, the village has 30 days to meet to discuss a dissolution plan (Feb. 28 at the latest), and another 180 days after that meeting to approve a proposed plan (sometime in August).
At the dissolution study committee meeting on Sept. 26, it announced that it wants to have its dissolution plan finalized for the next meeting, to be held on Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Keeseville Village Hall, meaning the plan could be approved much sooner than August.
Since residents petitioned to vote on dissolution, the vote can come before a dissolution plan or study is finalized; however, a petition for a second vote can be filed within 45 days of a finalized plan.
If this were to happen, the vote would be on whether the finalized dissolution plan should take effect.
In order for another village-resident vote to occur, 25 percent of the total electorate’s signatures is required on the petition.
There will also be a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. the same day, tentatively to be held at the Keeseville Fire Hall, for residents to voice their opinions and concerns regarding dissolution.
For more information, visit keeseville.ning.com.