10/12 Trustee’s Meeting re: Essex Junction Independence
On October 12, the Trustees held a Public Hearing on the Charter for the City of Essex Junction and had a work session and business item on the agenda related to Essex Junction Independence. The following is what was discussed.
The Trustees held a Public Hearing on the proposed Charter for the City of Essex Junction. You can watch the presentation here: https://youtu.be/PWoLYKqac_o?t=1258 (starting at 20:58 and ending at 37:57) and/or find a copy of the presentation here: https://www.essexjunction.org/fileadmin/files/Board_of_Trustees/Public_Hearing_Presentation.pdf.
Key take-aways from the presentation:
- We are voting on whether or not to adopt a new municipal charter that would transform the Village into an independent city, and no longer be a part of the Town of Essex.
- The Charter is available at 81 Main Street or here: https://www.essexjunction.org/proposed-charter.
- Things that will stay the same with the new charter include Essex Junction maintaining its identity, continuing to enjoy high-quality government services, having a 5-member governing board elected at large (no mayor), an annual budget presented to voters, and maintaining quality of life.
- Things that will be different with the new charter include gaining full control of Essex Junction’s future, tax dollars staying and only being invested in the City, and being an equal municipality like other Chittenden County cities and towns.
- The estimated financial impacts include a tax decrease of $195 on a $300,000 assessed home, the tax rate reducing by 7.25%, and General Fund spending on government to decrease by $811,337.
- Cost savings come from no longer paying for mirror services in the Town, already having most of the departments in the Village for the City, and no longer paying towards Town Capital Fund.
- Cost increases come from paying for police per capita (48%) vs. grand list (42%), paying for indirect administrative police services, paying for 81% of current Green Mountain Transit hours that are in the Village, and creating new City finance, assessing, and senior services departments.
- Financial details can be found here: http://www.essexjunction.org/citybudget.
- Ballots have been mailed to all active registered voters. If you have not received yours, you should contact the Clerk’s Office – 81 Main St, M-F, 7:30a.m.-4:30p.m., 802-879-0413, option 6, or e-mail clerk@. essex.org
- In-person voting is November 2, 7a.m.-7p.m., at Essex High School.
During the work session the Trustees discussed their current draft contracts with the Town. They went into an executive discussion for approximately 30-minutes to discuss a contract. When they emerged from the executive session they indicated they had not made any changes to the financial services agreement at this time.
The Trustees also discussed get out the vote ideas and asked staff to proceed with banners at 2 Lincoln, 81 Main, 75 Maple, and anywhere else staff see fit within the timeframe of the vote and the budget.
After the work session, the Trustees discussed if they had any final revisions to the Charter. There was one. They changed the first sentence in section 107, which previously read “During the transition period, the City Council shall hire a City Manager” to “The City Council shall employ a City Manager.”
For more information, please visit: https://www.essexjunction.org/independence.
If you have feedback on anything related to independence, you are encouraged to share your thoughts here: https://forms.gle/aYAn93rMeQnP9Cne7.
If you missed the work session and charter revision, but would like to watch it, you can find it here (starting at minute 40:55 and ending at 1:12:10, and again after the executive session from 1:43:37 to 1:48:30): https://youtu.be/PWoLYKqac_o?t=2455.
The next Trustees meeting is on Tuesday, October 26, at 6:30p.m. at 2 Lincoln Street or online. The meeting agenda and link will be posted a few days before the meeting here: https://www.essexjunction.org/boards/board-of-trustees. The Trustees have joint meetings with the Town of Essex Selectboard on October 19 and 25, starting at 6:30p.m. at 81 Main Street or online.