A Villager's Take On Separation

October 11, 2021

Separation is stupid. The reason it is occurring is because Elaine Haney, Annie Cooper, The Trustees, Town Manager and Brad Luck are trying to get even with the Town for not passing their merger plan. They don’t care if they destroy the Village. Just as long as they get even and can say they did something significant in the Village. The funny thing is separation will benefit the Town more than the Village! 

 

The problem is the Town owns most of the services. Police, IT, Human Resources, are all owned by the Town. The Village and Town share a bunch of services, such as the Town Manager, Parks and Rec office space and other things. An interesting setup is that some Village employees are shared with the Town and get paid by the Village.

 

However, their benefits come from the Town. It is cost prohibitive for the Village to stand up all of these services itself. This is why the Trustees have spent all year trying to hash out a deal with the Town so the Village can continue to provide service to the Village without having to stand them up itself.

 

If we separate, Villagers can’t be on the Town's Selectboard or vote for Selectboard members. If the Village wants something from the Town, it will approach the Selectboard just like a citizen from another Town.

 

That's a big problem since the Town owns most of the services that the Village depends on. The Town can charge whatever it wants for those services, can provide them as the Town prefers and can change them without Village consent. The only thing the Village will be able to do is rant and rave, go to court or stand up that specific service on its own.

 

This is why the Selectboard and Andy Watts are being so nice to the Village on separation. They want separation to pass, get the Villagers off the Selectboard so the Village doesn’t bother them and the Town will be in charge. 

This separation package will benefit the Town more than the Village. Currently, to vote and be on the Village Trustees, you need to be a Village resident. Because the Village is part of the Town, Villagers can also vote and be on the selectboard. If there are three Villagers on the Town's selectboard, the Village effectively controls the Town AND Village. 

 

If Annie Cooper had not quit her Selectboard seat and Elaine Haney had not angered TWO too many people enough to not vote for her, the Village would still have control of the Town, the Village and the direction of both. These women are petty, angry, and just want to destroy the Town and Village to get even.

Brad Luck is the Village Parks & Rec Director. What does a Director of Parks & Rec know about planning and carrying out a separation plan? He can’t even email IT and tell them to add a Nine Disc Golf Course to the Pearl Street Park website.

There’s a lot of other things that Brad's department doesn’t do very well. Like stopping kids from fighting at Maple Street Park, maintaining Stevens Park and dealing with graffiti at Cascade Park, to name a few. But If he can’t keep his department’s web pages up to date, then he has no business designing a separation plan let alone running a Parks and Rec Department with millions of dollars.

 

Separation has been tried twice before. I wish they’d just go dig up all that information, have a few meetings, research any bits that are out of date and put it all together into a report and be done with it. But NO! It dominates the Village and Town politics and the Village spent a truck load of money on it! 

 

When we voted to research separation, there was no mention of spending $10K from the Parks & Rec Department [1]. Plus the $46K to $61K budget proposed on 4/27 [2]. That doesn’t include Brad’s time, Town Manager’s time, or other departments' time working on separation. It must be $100k easily. Only very angry and petty people do things like this. It’s sad.

 

Misinformation is rampant. Our Village Our Voices is run by Elaine Haney who is using the $10K she got from EJRP to promote separation, which means using our tax dollars to promote a particular political opinion, which sounds illegal to me. 

 

They say Essex Junction doesn’t depend on Global Foundries for tax revenue [3], which is crap! We need the tax money we get from GF, employees and businesses that service GF and spend in Essex Junction.

 

When GF leaves, no GF employees will live or come here any more, and we will be in a lot of trouble. The Village will need the Town and Selectboard seats more than ever! Andrew Brown says taxes will “100% go down”, when he doesn’t even have an approved budget!

 

Haney, Cooper and our Village leadership know they are full of crap. They don’t care if they destroy our Village. They just want to get even and say they did something significant. So I say, Hell No Separation!

Andy Champagne

 

[1] 10,000$ from [EJRP] - Page 4 line 134  https://tinyurl.com/wmzyyxe4

 

[2] 46-61K proposed budget - Page 3 “Budget Draft” https://tinyurl.com/jfck328a

 

[3] Our Village Our Voices - FAQs & Facts - Global Foundries/IBM https://tinyurl.com/w7z68c3s