Peter Fairweather and Tim Weidemann present findings during the Keeseville Dissolution Committee public hearing May 23.
Around 53 residents of the village of Keeseville and towns of Chesterfield and Ausable were at the Keeseville Volunteer Fire Department May 23 to hear the latest on the possible dissolution of the village.
The meeting was the second public forum between the community and the Keeseville Dissolution Committee, along with consultants Peter Fairweather and Tim Weidemann.
In this meeting, residents had the chance to see and question the consultants and members of the committee on the draft dissolution study, which looks at several options for the village.
“The question is not just one of whether the village should dissolve or not,” Fairweather explained. “There are different ways to look at this and avenues to explore. That is what the study does.”
“The study does not recommend if the village should dissolve or not,” Weidemann said. “It looks at how it would affect those who live in the village, what would change in terms of services and how or if those services would be provided if the village was gone.”
The consultants presented three options to those in attendance, each dealing with a dissolution of the village government.
Weidemann said that the study was part of the process of reaching a dissolution plan, which would be submitted by the committee for acceptance of rejection by the current village board.
“The study looks at the options, while the plan takes one option so residents can look at it and vote yes or no,” Weidemann said. “We will continue to revise this until we come up with the final draft, and then we will work with the committee to pick an option to start the draft dissolution plan.”
Weidemann said that once the plan is submitted, three things can happen. The first is the village board moves the plan forward and residents vote, with the second being the board votes to not pursue dissolution.
The third option, which was brought up by some in the audience, was to file a voter petition to force a vote. Weidemann said that while there may be some who want to force the issue now, it is best to wait until the town has a plan in place.
“In order to have the vote, the state says that you need to have this plan,” he said. “It is better to do it this way then make the village work on a much tighter timeline.”
Several commented on the turnout at the meeting, with only around 60 in attendance in a village of approximately 2,100 residents.
“Not all of the people here are from the village,” village resident Don Loreman said. “They are the ones that need to be here so they know what is going on.”
“It was a very nice, informative meeting,” village resident Lola Lopez said. “I know that there are some other ideas out there that need to be brought to this forum, though.”
“We have received lots of input and are always looking for more,” Weidemann said. “Keep getting the word out and hopefully we will have an even bigger turnout next time.”
Loreman said during the meeting that while the consultants were doing their job, he would rather hear from those who would be in the municipalities once the planning stages were over.
“I want to hear more from the people who will manage this area and these towns after the dissolution or the results of the study,” Loreman said.
Chesterfield resident Jay Frank said that he was concerned that only village residents would have the chance to vote on the matter of dissolution.
“Positive or negative, it still has an effect on the towns of Ausable and Chesterfield,” Frank said. “We should all have a say.”
The committee will next meet at the end of June to finalize the study and possibly choose an option to move forward on a draft dissolution plan.