Town hall renovations approved

A strong majority approved a plan to renovate the town offices at 81 Main Street with funds left over from construction of the police headquarters completed last year in a sparsely attended Town Meeting Day election on Tuesday.

By a margin of 665 to 226, Essex voters endorsed the re-allocation of $800,000 in borrowed funds from the police station to the building the police vacated, which houses all other town departments. Less than 1,000 of Essex’s roughly 20,000 residents voted.

Renovation plans call for an expanded land records vault; improved accessibility for people with disabilities (including installing an elevator to the building’s second floor); relocating the parks and recreation department to the street side of the building where the police department was housed, giving parks and rec its own entrance; a new roof; and new air ventilation system.

Also Tuesday, Steve Eustis beat out Rich Maggiani in the election for town moderator by a tally of 434 to 358. The moderator is responsible for running Essex’s annual town meeting. Eustis takes over for longtime moderator Steve McQueen who is leaving Essex. He will start his duties next March. Eustis fills the role of moderator for the Village of Essex Junction’s Annual Meeting in April.

A three-year seat on the Essex Selectboard was also up for election, and board vice chairman Brad Luck ran uncontested, garnering 770 votes. It will be Luck’s second three-year term on the board.

— Jason Starr