Essex Junction votes to secede from the town of Essex



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The village of Essex Junction voted by an overwhelming majority on Tuesday in favor of a plan to secede from the town of Essex and establish a new self-governing town, signaling the potential end of this difficult 128-year relationship.

Residents of the village, who make up about half of Essex’s 22,000 people, have approved their 3070-411 secession plan.

The vote follows decades of acrimony between residents of separate but overlapping municipalities and could lead to the break-up of Vermont’s second-largest city. State lawmakers and the governor must approve the city charter proposed by Essex Junction next year before the split is finalized.

Taxes were a priority for many who went to the polls on Tuesday. Residents of Essex Junction pay taxes in both the town and the village, while non-residents pay taxes only in the town.

A plan proposed earlier this year would have merged the two municipalities into one while spreading the tax impact over time rather than all at once. But voters shot him twice – largely because of overwhelming opposition from non-residents of the village, whose taxes were said to have increased.

Six months later, non-residents of the village are bracing for larger increases anyway, as villagers contribute 42 percent of the town’s tax revenue. To balance the books in a post-secession world, the city would have to either raise taxes or cut services. Residents of the village, meanwhile, would pay nearly $ 200 less per year in municipal taxes.

After failure of merger votes, Essex Junction plans to break with city of Essex

After failure of merger votes, Essex Junction plans to break with city of Essex

By Colin Flandre

Politics

The two municipalities will not completely sever their ties if the city’s new charter is approved. Officials have agreed to continue funding a joint police service and say they are working to determine if it makes sense to share something else, like financial and IT services.

Still, the 7-to-1 ratio left no doubt that officials had made the right choice in leaving behind long-held dreams of merging with the city, said Andrew Brown, chairman of the board of directors of the city. ‘Essex Junction.

“At no time has the merger been such a resounding yes,” Brown said Tuesday night. “This is a very clear direction as to the wishes of [village residents] on how our governance should evolve. ”


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