On August 10, the Trustees held a work session on Essex Junction Independence. The following is what was discussed.
The Trustees reviewed a list of intergovernmental relationships and committees for the city.
The Trustees discussed what community educational materials they would like to go out to residents and the timing of such. There was consensus to mail something to all residents right around the time that ballots will be mailed in early October. The Trustees want to put together something with a cohesive message and easy to understand graphics, that is brief and has important facts so people can make an informed decision. The Trustees would like more detailed information available on the website if people want to learn more or dig deeper.
The Trustees reviewed a letter to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development requesting that the Village Center and Neighborhood Development Area Designations remain in place with the formation of the city. The Trustees also expressed an interest in discussing Downtown Designation at some point in the near future.
Three charter updates were reviewed and approved.
The Trustees reviewed a draft letter to go to six communities/law enforcement agencies, inquiring if they would be willing to have a conversation with the Trustees if negotiations are unsuccessful with the Town of Essex to continue police services with Essex Police for the future city. The letter was approved and is being sent out. The Trustees are not formally exploring creating a city police department at this time.
The Trustees would like to pursue having a Village vote in April on a local option tax. This is unrelated to independence.
The Trustees discussed retail cannabis and had some questions about the logistics of the Village vs. Town opting-in or out of allowing retail cannabis within the municipality, and how that may change with the formation of the city. More discussion is needed on this topic, as well as information from the state. Whether or not there is a vote in the Village or Town on retail cannabis and the outcome are unrelated to independence.
The Trustees reviewed a thorough list of FAQ’s from Our Village, Our Voices. The Trustees expressed their appreciation for the group’s effort to inform citizens. The FAQ’s can be found here: https://www.ourvillageourvoices.org/the-facts.
For more information, please visit: https://www.essexjunction.org/independence
If you have feedback on the work session, you are encouraged to share your thoughts here: https://forms.gle/YQ9Y5qqSVYm8VTvB9.
If you missed the work session, but would like to watch it, you can find it here (starting at minute 13:25 and ending at 1:16:51): https://youtu.be/FVkb6_eQJ1k?t=805.
The next work session will take place as the first item on the agenda at the August 24 Trustees meeting, which starts at 6:30p.m. at 2 Lincoln Street. 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 a joint meeting with the Selectboard on August 23, starting at 6:30p.m. at 81 Main Street.