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Village of Essex Junction to Become City of Essex Junction

Posted Thursday, April 21, 2022

With Governor Scott signing H.491 into law t, ason April 20, as of July 1, 2022 the Village of Essex Junction will become the City of Essex Junction. Since 1892 the Village of Essex Junction has been an incorporated municipality within the Town of Essex, resulting in Village residents being residents of both municipalities. This model worked for many years, though as both municipalities grew and residents of both the Village and Town desired increased services, Village residents and businesses were burdened with paying property taxes to two municipalities.

Since 1958 there had been many attempts to either merge with the Town or separate from the Town, none of which resulted in a legislatively-approved remedy. Today, just over one year after Village residents were asked through an advisory vote on whether to pursue separation from the Town, Governor Scott has made it official and the City of Essex Junction with be Vermont’s 10th and newest City. This moment also occurs 100 years since Winooski separated from Colchester in 1922, the last occurrence of when Vermont created a City.

The City of Essex Junction will retain all Village of Essex Junction staff, contracts, buildings, and more. The City will also contract with the Town of Essex for services from the Essex Police Department and Essex Community Justice Center for a period of 10 years. While the City will contract with the Town for a couple of other services in the short-term, in the long-term the City will provide all non-criminal justice services for the City which are currently experienced by current Village residents.

This is a time for celebration and appreciation to all who made this possible. The Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees would like to thank Representatives Lori Houghton and Karen Dolan for their advocacy within the legislature and shepherding the bill through the legislative process. We thank Our Village Our Voices leaders and volunteers who helped get the vote out which resulted in over 88% of Village residents voting to separate from the Town. We thank Essex Junction Recreation and Parks Director and Separation Project Manager Brad Luck who guided the Trustees through the process of writing the City of Essex Junction Charter and negotiating agreements with the Town of Essex Selectboard. We thank the Town of Essex Selectboard for negotiating in good faith for what has resulted in an amicable separation process. We thank House and Senate leadership and committee leadership as they ensured H.491 went through the legislative process which resulted in unanimous votes in each committee and near unanimous votes by the full House and Senate. We thank those Village residents and leaders who helped to lay the foundation for this process over the many decades of voting on governance. We thank the Village of Essex Junction staff, past and present, who have worked through the difficulty of not knowing the future of their community for the last few years. Lastly, we thank the Village of Essex Junction community for finally putting an end to this decades-long debate. Thank you!

Andrew Brown
President, Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees