Voters in Essex Junction have agreed to separate the village of Essex Junction from the town.
More than 88 percent of voters were in favor of separation; it passed 3,080-411. The measure must go to the Vermont Legislature before taking effect.
“I always thought that it would be important that we stay together, the town and the village, and for whatever reason, I have changed my mind,” said Stephen M. Boile, an Essex Junction resident of 30 years.
The Village of Essex Junction is a smaller area within the Town of Essex. Elaine Haney served in both municipalities as a village trustee and as chair of the town selectboard. She says taxation may be a key reason people voted to separate.
“In the village of Essex Junction’s case, we were being taxed for services that we weren’t receiving in full. That was something that village residents were tired of having happen,” said Haney.
Another resident of says he first wanted the village and the town to merge, but he voted to separate Tuesday.
“For me this is about resolution, finally trying to resolve something that we have been battling in this community for over 50 years,” said Marcus Certa. “I’ve been here about 15 years, and every year it’s been a conversation, it’s been an issue we’ve been trying to resolve.”
Gabrielle Smith has lived in the Junction since 2006. She is also a member of a group called, “Our village our voices” that engages community members in the vote.
She says passing the charter will be a significant step forward in a decades-long debate.
“I think that much of the work that the trustees have done, and volunteers have done has been successful and really takes on a really historic question. Do we separate, do we form the city of Essex Junction? And this is what people want to do? That’s what really matters. The will of the community,” said Smith.