Creating an Independent City of Essex Junction

Updated 12/17/2021

Independence Update

The Charter vote for the City of Essex Junction passed overwhelmingly (88%) in November with 3,070 yes votes to 411 no votes.  While there have not been any more work sessions on independence, there has been a lot of work done by the Trustees to prepare for the legislature to consider the Charter and to form the City government.  We will continue to provide routine updates on the status of independence moving forward and apologize for the long gap since the vote. 

CHARTER 

Representatives Houghton and Dolan have been working on a bill to be introduced in the Vermont House as soon as the legislative session begins.  The House Committee on Government Operations will be the first to consider the bill.  It will be up to them as to if and when they take consideration of the Charter.  The hope is that they will take it up and take it on early in the session so that it can begin traveling through the House and Senate committees before a vote by both chambers and then pending the signature of the Governor.  Ideally, this will all take place starting in January and be signed by May, and the Village will formally become the City of Essex Junction effective July 1, 2022. 

AGREEMENTS 

The Trustees have continued to work with the Selectboard on agreements of how the two municipalities will work together and separately, should the legislature approve the City Charter.  The boards have now voted to support tentative agreements related to six departments/items: 

Police – Essex Police will continue in the exact same manner as it does today.  The City will contract police services from the Town and pay on a per capita basis.   

Reappraisal & Assessor – the City will contract to continue with the Town Assessing Department until the reappraisal process is complete.  The process of reappraisal has not started yet, but is anticipated to within the next year or two. 

IT – the City will contract its own IT services one year after the Charter takes effect. 

Delinquent taxes – prior to the City being established, all delinquencies for Village/Town property taxes from Village homes will be payable to the Town. 

Stormwater – the joint funding and planning of stormwater projects will end one year after the Charter takes effect. 

Right of First Refusal – if the Town decides to sell 81 Main in the future (there are no plans to do so now), the City will have the right of first refusal to purchase the property. 

There are a few other agreements that the boards have agreed to general tenets but have not yet been drafted into formal contracts, and thus are still in deliberations.  Here is the current framework: 

Finance – each municipality will employ and fund their own finance department.  The departments will work together at 81 Main Street until they can separate everything that is currently intertwined, with a goal of being separated no later than June 30, 2025. 

Clerk/Treasurer - the municipalities will continue to share a clerk/treasurer’s office at 81 Main Street until one year after the Charter takes effect. 

Recreation/Indian Brook/Senior Center & Bus – all Town and City citizens will be treated as residents for recreation programming, Indian Brook access, Senior Center access, and Senior bus services through June 30, 2025.  Only exceptions:  EJRP Preschool and Maple Street/Sandhill pools may have benefits for residents of their respective community.  The Town and City will share Senior Center/bus expenses on a per capita basis.   

VILLAGE GOVERNMENT 

There have been a lot of moving parts as it relates to the staffing of the current Village and future City.  The consolidated management agreement between the Town and Village is expiring on February 25, 2022, and is not being renewed.  This means that the sharing of management and HR services between the municipalities will no longer be.  The Trustees anticipate that the City Charter will pass this May, at which time they will begin advertising for a permanent City Manager.  Until that person is hired, the Trustees have appointed interim co-managers – Wendy Hysko, Director at the Brownell Library and Brad Luck, Director at Essex Junction Recreation & Parks.  The Village is currently advertising for an HR Director.  The consolidated finance director resigned and accepted a new position.  The finance departments are now separate for the Village and Town, but working together at 81 Main for the next several years to provide financial services to both municipalities while disentangling things.  The Village is currently in the process of hiring a finance director. 

 

Official Special Election Results

VILLAGE OF ESSEX JUNCTION
OFFICIAL RESULTS
SPECIAL VILLAGE ELECTION
NOVEMBER 2, 2021


Number of Voters on Checklist: 7742
Number of Voters checked in: 3491
Blank ballots: 1
Defective ballots: 9
Total votes cast: 3481
Shall the Village of Essex Junction adopt the proposed Charter for the City of Essex Junction, Vermont dated September 14, 2021
Yes: 3070
No: 411
 

Attested Copy of the Official Results - November 2, 2021 (pdf)

Background

The Village of Essex Junction voters passed an article during their 2021 Annual Meeting as a non-binding advisory vote to draft a new charter. This does not "bind" or make any legal charter change. The positive vote advises the Board of Trustees to begin work on a new draft charter for voters, since the vote to reconsider the Plan of Merger failed. Click here to view final vote results. 

Trustee Work Sessions on Independence

The Village Board of Trustees held the first work session on Essex Junction Independence on April 27, 2021, and decided to dedicate approximately the first hour of each of their regularly scheduled meetings to have a work session to discuss this topic.  A list of their regularly scheduled meetings can be found here.

Goal

To create an independent Essex Junction, ensuring that it: has a foundation that provides for economic and political stability, reflects the Village character, has opportunity for growth, and looks towards the future.

Operating Principals

This will be a Village led process that is future oriented.  The Trustees and designees working on this initiative will steer clear of distractions and act with civility, transparency, and deliberateness.  They will work to develop consensus and speak with a consistent voice.  They will engage with, bring together, seek input from, and work to inform our community.  The Trustees will work with the Town Selectboard and maintain a healthy relationship with their neighbors in the Town. 

Scope of Work

The identified scope of work is to include the charter, organization and budget, work with the Town Selectboard, listen to Village residents, and educate and inform voters.

Board of Trustees & Contact Information

The Village Trustees welcome your questions and feedback.  Please feel free to contact any Trustee at the email listed on this page.

Andrew Brown, President       abrown@ essexjunction.org
Raj Chawla, Vice Presidentrchawla@ essexjunction.org
George Tylergtyler@ essexjunction.org 
Daniel Kerindkerin@ essexjunction.org 
Amber Thibeaultathibeault@ essexjunction.org