essex sign with money

With the new year comes a new budget set to be voted on in a matter of months by the residents of Essex. The selectboard will be meeting all day Monday, starting at 8 a.m., to begin combing through the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Town General Fund budget.

The complete proposal, of nearly 150 pages, can be found on the town’s website. Here are the top figures.

The proposal calls for an increase of almost $760,000 which would bring the town’s budget up to $16,094,707. That would equate to a 5.0% increase from FY21, but taxpayers would only see a 3.8% increase if a suggested allocation of $300,000 from the excess fund balance is to be adopted and applied.

Driving the increase are four initiatives included in the proposed budget transmittal:

  • Including the Village Rolling Stock transfer into the highway budget to the tune of $140,100. However the transmittal said the change would only increase the bottom line with “a very small impact on the tax rate” because it would be coupled with eliminating the highway tax.
  • The addition of an assistant manager position which would be netted against an existing, part-time position for a new cost of $77,706
  • Funding for additional racial equity work and stipends for all board and committee members, a cost of $46,000
  • A proposed part-time economic development position that would pay $15,450

The budget transmittal states that the overall budget increase would only be 3.15% if these initiatives are taken out of the equation -- a rate that is “more in line with other years.” Last March, voters approved a proposed FY21 budget that was 3.38% higher than FY20’s. The year before, the budget went up by 3.27%.

Here’s a summary of the biggest factors that will lead to the overall increase:

  • Regular personnel increases (of existing staff salaries and benefits): $271,434 
  • Funds transferred to the village (highway and stormwater budget increases and the addition of rolling stock): $205,369
  • Proposed new or increased positions (economic development position and the assistant manager): $93,156
  • Police department equipment (notably body cameras and associated software): $46,680
  • Selectboard’s racial equity and inclusion work and stipends for board and committee members: $46,000
  • Summer construction (paving and stormwater work): $39,860
  • Repair and maintenance of buildings: $39,500
  • Operating transfers to capital (highway, fire, and police): $26,000

Essex Selectboard Budget Meeting

When: Monday, Jan. 4, 8 a.m.

Where: Online (Live-streamed on Town Meeting TV)

Join the meeting online through Microsoft Teams Meeting; depending on your browser, you may need to download prompted software or call in for audio.

Simply tune in to watch through YouTube (no participation possible): youtube.com/playlist?list=PLljLFn4BZd2MX8tMSIwlYGFAQOith-Q_F.

For calling in, dial (802) 377-3784 and use the conference ID: 923 105 925#

Notes for participating:

  • For the minutes, you are asked to provide your full name when prompted.
  • Use the “chat” function of Microsoft Teams only to request to speak; do not use it for comments.
  • Use the “raise your hand” function of Microsoft Teams to request to speak.
  • When not speaking, mute the microphone on your device.

Agenda items of interest:

Comments from Public on Items Not on Agenda 

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Work Session (approximate start times and presenters):

  • 8 a.m. Overview & Revenues, Sarah Macy
  • 8:30 a.m. Essex Free Library, Caitlin Corless
  • 9 a.m. Clerk, Susan McNamara‐Hill
  • 9:30 a.m. Public Works, Dennis Lutz
  • Highway, Dennis Lutz 
  • Stormwater, Dennis Lutz
  • Buildings, Dennis Lutz & Tom Yandow
  • 11 a.m. Police, Ron Hoague
  • 11:30 a.m. Community Justice Center, Jill Evans
  • 12 p.m. Lunch
  • 12:30 p.m. Assessor, Karen Lemnah
  • 1 p.m. Community Development, Owiso Makuku
  • 1:30 p.m. IT, Rob Paluba
  • 2 p.m. Recreation, Ally Vile
  • 2:45 p.m. Administration, Greg Duggan
  • Economic Development, Greg Duggan
  • County and Regional, Greg Duggan
  • Health and Human Services, Greg Duggan
  • Selectboard, Greg Duggan
  • 3:30 p.m. Finance, Debt Sarah Macy
  • 4 p.m. Fire, Charlie Cole

Find the full agenda and meeting packet at essexvt.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01042021-1064.

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