Town of Essex, village of Essex Junction discuss merger
Residents in Essex heard about a vote that could transform the town from two communities into one.
It's the 65-year-old question: should the town of Essex and the village of Essex Junction merge governments?
Town selectmen and village trustees sat at the same table to talk about the divisive decision on Tuesday night.
The Essex officials hired a consultant, KSV, to conduct a survey asking residents living inside and outside of Essex Junction whether to merge.
The consultants concluded the results of that survey show a little less than half of Essex residents are in favor, a third are not and the rest are undecided.
The report is shown with a paragraph that reads:
"Output from these research activities is intended to provide information that will aid [Essex officials] while considering and making decisions on these issues."
Some residents worry about the accuracy of the survey. At the meeting, officials acknowledged it is not scientific. Critics point to the fact that only 844 residents of 22,000 responded and the sampling wasn't random.
"This is a huge decision for our community," resident Ken Signorello said. "So input that's usable, that applies to the entire community would be very important, you would think, but the way this survey was organized, you can't really apply any of the results to the entire community."
Other residents there said they aren't surprised by the low response rates because many people don't want to take the time to fill out surveys. Resident Jeff Benjamin says he's just happy one was done at all.
"I think the way that the surveys were run was really a way to have people's voices heard," said Benjamin. "I do trust that everything that's being done here as part of these sessions and part of the meetings that led up to this is being done with good intentions, and we are trying to learn more about what the community wants."
KSV denied our request for an interview on or off-camera until we went through their public relations department.