The Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction each has its own government and elected board with taxing authority. For the past few years, the Town of Essex Selectboard and the Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees have explored a potential merger of the governance of the two municipalities under a single charter. A Governance Subcommittee of the two boards reviewed governance models and organized focus groups and surveys with residents to help create the proposed merger plans.
Here are the GOVERNANCE SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS based on all the public input to date There will be more public outreach as well as legal public hearings in September and October of 2020 prior to a potential vote on November 3, 2020. Consider attending a meeting!
Updates and Recent Merger Efforts
The March 3, 2020 ballot included a question that was posed by a voter-backed petition, asking if the Town charter should be changed to create a six-member Selectboard with three members elected from the Village of Essex Junction and three from outside the Village. Voters passed the proposed change, 4,032 - 2,614. The charter change was sent to the Vermont Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Legislature for consideration.
Read the letter from leadership of House Government Operations relating to the proposed Essex charter change.
Village Vote on Merger
Village voters are being asked to decide on whether the Village and Town should merge. The Village Board of Trustees approved a version of the Essex Charter a Merged Municipality and voted to include the merger question on the Village of Essex Junction's November 2020 ballot. The Town Selectboard continues to finalize its own plan of merger, and expects to pose the merger question to all Town voters in March 2021. Learn more about the Village ballot vote at www.essexjunction.org.
Current Governance Structure
The Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction currently have their own charters. Some municipal departments and services have been consolidated in the last few years, such as the Manager’s Office, Clerk’s Office, Finance Department, and the Essex Area Senior Center, among others (click here for consolidation information). These departments and services are paid for by all members of the Essex community, whether in the Village or the Town outside the Village. These consolidations have saved more than $2.5 million (from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2020). Other municipal services are funded separately, such as the fire departments, recreation departments, libraries, and community development and planning.
Cost of Current Services - Separation Analysis
"How are the budgets of the Town and Village currently funded? Which portion is paid for by Village taxpayers and which portion is paid for by Town Outside the Village taxpayers? Can we see a side-by-side comparison by department? What would it cost if the Village were to separate from the Town?"
Find answers to your questions:
News Coverage and community conversations about this topic are featured regularly in the Essex Reporter. www.essexreporter.com
You can also view meeting recordings on Town Meeting TV's Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TOWNMEETINGTV/playlistswww.youtube.com/c/TOWNMEETINGTV/playlists.
- Heart and Soul of Essex - 2012-2014 - Identified Thoughtful Growth and Local Economy as core community values that need attention
- An Examination of a Shared Service Delivery Model for the Village of Essex Junction - Town of Essex, VT - 2014
- Essex Governance Group Final Report - 2015
- Public Works Consolidation Memorandum of Agreement and Amendment - 2015, 2018
- Thoughtful Growth in Action Report - 2016 - Preferred approaches to coordinating planning governance structures
- Qualitative Survey - July 2019
- Focus Groups - August 2019
- Quantitative Survey - Sept/Oct 2019