Tim Weidemann of Rondout Consulting addresses those in attendance at the Feb. 22 public kick-off meeting of the Keeseville dissolution committee.
The fate of services provided by the village of Keeseville is a major issue when it comes to the potential dissolution of the municipality.
At the Feb. 22 meeting of the dissolution committee, which represented the public kick-off meeting, consultants Peter Fairweather of Fairweather Consulting and Tim Weidemann and Rondout Consulting said that services are a key area to look at during the drafting of a dissolution study.
“A very important question is what would happen with the services if the village were to dissolve,” Weidemann said.
“The main thing that we started to look at was the different services that are offered within the village and the alternatives for each,” Fairweather said. “You have services from garbage pickup to the water system, and there are alternatives for each, such as creating a district.”
The consultants also talked about the difference between the dissolution study, which would be presented in draft form in May, and the dissolution plan, which would be presented in draft form in August.
“The study is not only about dissolution, but also about the alternative to dissolution,” Weidemann said. “There will be additional options to share with the study, and that is the first part of this nine-month journey to come up with a study, and then we work on a plan.”
“All of the options that are available will be part of the study, but the plan will be a specific set of actions that would need to take place in order to dissolve the village,” Fairweather said.
“The plan will look at the best way to accomplish this transition in an orderly and effective way,” Weidemann added. “Most communities who are serious about this take the time to go through a study and then develop a plan, because it helps to find out the ways to do it that help the community, not harm the community.”
Sean Maguire, who was representing the New York Department of State at the meeting, said the state requires the entire process to be completed when it is receiving grant funding, like the Keeseville study is.
“We found that a lot of communities would do a study and then stop, and that would leave them with nothing on paper if a petition for dissolution was filed with the village,” Maguire said. “The state does not want to spend money on funding a study on dissolution and then have nothing to show for it.”
Fairweather also said there are times when they complete a dissolution study and plan and then recommend a different course of action.
“Saranac Lake is a great example of this,” Fairweather said. “We went through the process, and at the end, the recommendation that both we as consultants and the dissolution committee had was that the village look to incorporate as a city.”
Throughout the nine-month process, Weidemann said it was also important to have the involvement of both the town of Chesterfield and town of Ausable.
“We want to make sure that they are part of this process, because both towns could be affected by this,” he said.
The dissolution committee will next meet on Wednesday, April 25.