The town of Essex will not merge with the Village of Essex Junction.
A re-vote Tuesday failed by 26 votes. On Town Meeting Day, it was rejected by just 19 votes.
“We either gotta go one way or another,” said Mike Sullivan. “It’s like a train going down a track and there’s only 2 ways up ahead, its either merger or separation.”
It’s something the two communities have debated for nearly 6 decades and many remain split on the issue. While opponents of the merger call the plan to equalize taxes unfair, supporters say becoming one community would streamline services for both municipalities and create a level playing field for taxes.
“It’s this particular merger plan we’re not happy with,” said Ken Signorello. “This specific merger plan moves taxes in the village to the town outside the village. Those are taxes that supply funds for services that we never got to vote for outside the village, so that seems unfair to us.”
People in Essex Junction have to pay property taxes to not only their own village, but also the town. A merger would put an end to that.
“The tax rates are unfair, the taxes are imbalanced,” Sullivan said. “We just would like to make it even, were not asking for extra we just want to make it even.”
In November, the village of Essex Junction voted by a margin of nearly three-to-one in favor of the merger. But it was the town who had the final decision.