The Town of Essex is expecting to have the question of merger on their ballot in March 2021. The Village voted on a different version of the proposed charter in November 2020. I find it problematic that the charter voted on by the Village and the proposed charter in the Town are different. This may lead to the Legislature imposing one or the other onto TIV or TOV rather than coming to an agreement on it ourselves. Because of this, I am not in favor of the merger as it is currently proposed. The Village will lose it’s autonomy, independence, and assets – while keeping its debt. The Town AND Village taxes will increase simply because of increasing budgets (and let’s not forget the school budget which is looking to increase at least 9% per the Governor). I believe we can do better and firmly believe in making taxes affordable and equitable, but don’t think this is the way to do it.
The Town will hopefully have voted on merger in March 2021 and I will set aside my personal feelings and move forward with whatever the voters decide – in good faith and with community feedback and input. To this point – I have been regularly giving input during public portions of the Selectboard meetings to help collaborate on the proposed charter to address some of my concerns (and to help create the best product possible for the voters). In other words, even though I’m not in favor of the current proposal, I’m putting forth the effort to help improve it for the benefit of the voters making the ultimate decision.