Getting You Ready for the Essex Annual Town Meeting


The Essex Annual Town Meeting is slated for Monday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Essex Elementary School. Articles to be voted upon run the gamut from approving budgets to decisions concerning how to deal with a certain invasive species in our saltwater marshes.

Some of the topics that should be of interest to those in attendance can be found in the heart of the Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting (a link can be found here.)

For example, Article 15 should draw interest and spark conversation as it looks to satisfy state requirements for affordable housing in Essex.  Those present will vote on amending town bylaws and allowing for a Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which will be overseen by a seven-person board of trustees.  This group will be responsible for ensuring the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low- and moderate- income households in town that satisfy state requirements.

Article 14 will see a vote to extend the temporary moratorium on business and industrial use conversions to January 1, 2024 to give the town’s land use planning consultant more time to find grants needed to complete the work, and then present findings and recommendations to town officials.  The moratorium slowed business growth in town as a means of allowing for more study on how this type of growth affects residential concerns.

The meeting will begin with selections for any Town officers who are normally selected during the Annual Meeting, along with reports from town officials and committees (Articles 1 & 2).  Attendees will vote on amendments to the wage and salary scale for elected officials for Fiscal Year 2023 based on recommendations from the Personnel Board Report (Articles 3 & 4).  Article 7 is a presentation of the Finance Committee Report, along with the opportunity to vote on the source and amount needed for funding for the committee in the next fiscal year, along with authorizing certain line-item transfers within salary lines or expense lines.

Article 5 asks attendees to make a decision on using money from the town’s Septic Betterment Fund to pay off Community Septic Management Loan Funds and to account for payments made to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust for Fiscal Year 2023.  Articles 8-11 look to determine the source of funding to pay for the Sewer and Water Enterprise Funds for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Article 6 asks voters to determine the source and amount of funding needed to implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Town and the Essex Police union.

School budgets are also on the docket, with Article 12 concerning itself with the approval of the budget for Manchester Essex Regional School District, while Article 13 is concerned with Essex’s fiscal responsibility towards Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District for rest of FY22.

Article 16 looks to extend the terms of office for Moderator and Constable from one year to three years, beginning with the 2023 election.  Approval to expand and clarify the winter parking ban bylaw is under consideration in Article 17; the amendment or suspension of town bylaws regulating the use of plastics by commercial establishments in Essex is up for debate and vote in Article 18.

Refuse, the town dump and transfer station stickers factor into Articles 19–a vote to update wording regarding town dump regulations – and 20 (a vote to increase transfer station sticker fees).  Article 22 entails a vote to determine a funding source for a new dump truck with snowplow for town use.

Determining the source and amount of funding for a number of local town services, items and locations dominate much of the rest of the meeting warrant, including:

  • The purchase of a replacement water and sewer meter reading unit and corresponding software (Article 23).
  • The design, engineering, repairs, upgrades improvements or replacements any aspect of the municipal sewer system (Article 26) as well as to any aspect of the municipal water system in connection with the upgrade of the Essex Water Filtration Plant (Articles 24-25).
  • Materials and labor necessary to replace the roof at Centennial Grove Cottage, the Grove Concession Stand and the associated garage (Article 27).
  • Replacement firefighter air packs (Article 28).
  • Create a stabilization fund for climate change-related projects, drawing local funding for these types of projects under one umbrella (Article 29).
  • Determine funding source to match a state or federal grant for design and construction of roadbed elevation project along section of Apple Street that is prone to flooding during coastal storm surge events (Article 30).
  • Hire licensed private parties to trap and dispose of green crabs, an invasive species (Article 31).

Attendees will vote on the usage of funds from the Community Preservation Fund for CPF-related projects or purposes in Article 32.  Article 33 covers the transfer of fund used to defray operational expenses for the town, and Article 34 is concerned with the transfer of funds used to replenish the Finance Committee’s reserve fund for the rest of the fiscal year.  Article 35 closes out the meeting with a vote on determining the funding source for payment of unpaid bills from previous fiscal years.

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