Voters in the Village of Lake George say ‘no’ to dissolution

LAKE GEORGE — Although residents collected enough signatures to force a vote on dissolving the village government, voters overwhelmingly decided on Tuesday to keep things as they are.

With a turnout of about 48%, voters in the Village of Lake George scored 269 to 59 against dissolving the village government, according to a total provided by the village on Tuesday evening. The total also includes all absentee ballots submitted as part of the special election.

Mayor Robert Blais said before the vote that he expected most to reject dissolution because he thinks residents “enjoy the village”, which was founded in 1902.

“Voters appreciate the services. They appreciate what we are doing for the local economy,” Blais said Monday. He has been mayor of Lake George for 52 years. “The village does all the big events, Americade, the (Adirondack National) Car Show. They believe like me, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Dissolution, which is encouraged by the state, has not always been popular. Villages such as Victory in Saratoga County, Greenwich in Washington County, and Highland Falls in Ulster County have rejected the dissolution of their villages, primarily for fear that services will be diminished under a municipal government that does not had never had to provide them before. But according to the State Department website, 33 villages in the state have dissolved since 1990.

Voters in the Village of Lake George signed and submitted a petition in May forcing a referendum on merging the Village with the Town of Lake George. The subject has been discussed since the 1990s, but was not voted on.

Proposing the dissolution of a government that oversees a major tourist destination has undoubtedly weighed heavily on the residents of the village. Unlike other proposals to dissolve governments in New York, Lake George has a robust business sector and an annual budget of $7.5 million. There was a study that determined that some savings could be made, but there are also already shared services between the town and the village of Lake George.