Follow the Money
Essex, Vermont voters are being asked whether or not
to approve a complex plan of "Merger"
in an April 13th election.
This is a re-vote of an election
won by NO Merger on March 2nd.
Although 7,493 people voted on that question,
a petition was submitted for a re-vote.
Exactly 27 people didn't vote either way on the Merger question.
Meanwhile, 265 people didn't vote either way on the $15.9m Town Budget question,
but no one has petitioned for a re-vote on that one.
Due to the COVID pandemic, ballots were mailed
to all registered, active voters on March 24th and 25th.
Thus, there's no time to waste in getting-up-to-speed!
Here's a link to our video on Channel 17 / Town Meeting TV in which we explain the house of cannards that merger is built on.
"The best way we can show respect for the voters ... is by telling them the truth," said Senator Mitt Romney on Jan. 6, 2021.
That Fueled this Push to "Merge"
Fallacy 1) The Town (outside-the-Village) isn't paying its "fair share" of municipal taxes, of which there are two types, (a) Town, and (b) Village. Merger will make that happen.
Fallacy 2) Village residents "get nothing for our Town taxes".
While these claims may have held water in the past, they are now patently false.
Here's the current reality:
Reality 1 (a) The TOV pays 59% of the property tax revenue collected by the Town. The populations of both districts are equal, so it could easily be argued, the TOV is paying more than its "fair share" per capita!
Reality 1 (b) TOV residents have no say in Village budgets, thus, they don't have to pay for Village expenses as do Village residents.
Nevertheless, TOV residents do contribute money to such Village entities as Brownell Library, Village Public Works, and Essex Jct. Recreation & Parks via their Town taxes.
The Village also collects revenue from TOV residents when they pay fees-for-services, such as EJRP pool and programs.
Reality 2) Village residents get a direct benefit (light blue shading) from approximately 95% of the Town taxes they pay.
Based on numbers from Town of Essex 2019 Annual Report and Sarah Macy's Analysis of Current Funding and Estimated Cost of Separation, Sept. 23, 2021
Village residents do contribute via Town taxes to departments that cater in the whole (Town Planning) or for the most part (Essex Free Library and Essex Fire) to the TOV.
However, those costs are relatively small, compared to the returns that Village taxpayers received promptly on their investment in much larger departments in 2020.
The net Village gain was 10% for Police because 51% of the calls were in the Village, but only 41% of the revenue came from the TIV.
The net Village gain for Highway was 18% because the TOV paid 59% of the $1.2m that gets refunded to the Village, whose taxpayers only contributed 41%.
Merger won't fix the real problem:
The Village's current fiscal challenges can only be addressed by cutting expenses and resetting priorities among Village residents - not by shifting taxes onto others.
Merger Solves Problems that No Longer Exist!
It Also Creates New Problems.
"We will never have unity without truth and, also, without accountability," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jan. 13, 2021.
TOV residents, Find your Merger Tax Increase:
$372 on a $280,000 property is an FY22 estimate from Sarah Macy, Town Finance Director at the Jan. 25th, 2021 Joint Selectboard and Trustee Meeting.
This is the extra amount you would pay annually for services that Village voters have needed / desired and voted for over time.
The Merger Charter provides for this tax shift to happen over a 12-year period, at the end of which there will be another incremental shift upward.
Contrary to official Town documents,
this tax shift is not $27 per year.
It compounds and adds up over time, as such: