Keeseville residents vote to dissolve village

Voters decided Tuesday to dissolve the Adirondack village of Keeseville, on the line between Essex and Clinton counties.

The vote was 268 in favor of dissolution to 176 opposed, village Mayor Dale Holderman told the Enterprise this morning.

“I’ve always preached democracy as the way to go,” Holderman said. “The vote came out that people didn’t want the government. Now they get their say.”

Holderman said the village board will meet in February to draft a dissolution plan, which will spell out how village services will be taken over by the towns of Chesterfield in Essex County and AuSable in Clinton County through the creation of special taxing districts. The plan has to be completed in 180 days and then presented to the public.

If the public accepts the plan, village government would officially dissolve at the end of next year. About a half-dozen village jobs would end, although officials in the towns have said village workers would be given first priority for positions that come up.

Holderman had been opposed to dissolution. He said he was disappointed with the outcome of the vote.

“In our economic times, the first thing that happens when people think they’re going to save money is to go after their government,” he said. “This was their opportunity to speak their displeasure.”

A dissolution study prepared by an outside consulting firm found taxes and special district fees would decrease for people whose homes are assessed at $100,000 or more, if dissolution was approved. People with homes assessed at $70,000 or less could see their taxes and fees rise after dissolution, the study found.

Keeseville isn’t the only North Country village that’s looked at the possibility of dissolution. In November, voters in the village of Malone defeated a dissolution proposal by an almost 2-to-1 margin. A dissolution vote in the village of Champlain in Clinton County will take place March 19.