KIAMESHA LAKE A referendum on the future of the proposed Village of Ateres in Kiamesha Lake was supposed to take place on Thursday, but it has been canceled since the State Assembly has not taken any action on a chapter revision that would have made the poll possible.
Governor Kathy Hochul signed a measure in December that tightened the requirements for establishing villages in the state. The law primarily increases the required minimum population of a proposed new community from 500 to 2,000, a criterion that Ateres would not be able to achieve. Despite the revision, Hochul suggested a chapter adjustment that exempted village petitions that were already set for public referendum as of December 22, 2023, the day the petition for Ateres was filed, thus the new law did not threaten the village.
The Senate and Assembly must both approve the governor’s change for it to go into effect. The chapter modification was approved by the Senate on January 9, but the Assembly adjourned on Wednesday without debating the proposal. The chapter revision was not taken up by the Assembly, thus all applications—including those that were slated for a public referendum on or before December 22—are subject to the current law, which stops Thursday’s referendum from proceeding.
Less than a day before the referendum, on Wednesday afternoon, Fallsburg Town Supervisor Michael Bensimon and Thompson Town Supervisor Bill Rieber opted to postpone the vote without setting a new date.
Additionally, it should be mentioned that Supervisor Bensimon and I waited until the very last minute to take this action, waiting until the Assembly had completed its term and would no longer be in Albany before tomorrow’s scheduled referendum, according to Thompson Supervisor Bill Rieber. As previously mentioned, until the Assembly makes final decisions, we are not acting on the topic. Only then will we proceed in accordance with the Law, as it will exist.
The Assembly may not vote to decide Ateres’ fate if the chapter modification is not adopted when it reconvenes next week. It is uncertain whether the Assembly will consider the chapter amendment.
The proposed village would encompass parts of the municipalities of Thompson and Fallsburg and have a population of little over 830. It would be situated on 929 acres.