Separate-and-Share solves 5 long-standing problems:
1) Taxation by making each municipality tax independent,
2) Representation by making elected officials more local and accountable to specific constituencies,
3) Identity by allowing the Town to stay scenic and the Village to become a vibrant hub,
4) Access by allowing each municipality to meet the needs of their immediate population, and
5) Transparency by allowing voters to support particular shared entities, if they so choose.
Separate-and-Share is better than Merger because SAS:
- doesn’t shift a tax burden to those that didn't vote for it, while still allowing sharing as appropriate.
- eliminates the perpetually lopsided, at-large board in favor of more-attuned district boards.
- won't force a municipality that ranges from farms to suburbs to city into a single identity.
- high-quality services won't need to be diluted in order to serve those who didn't vote for them.
- doesn't hide cost increases in one big merger vote or budget.
I urge you to learn as much as you can about the merger question, its consequences and the alternatives. After you do that, and you really need to do that, I hope you will consider asking the Selectboard to approve and the Trustees to act on keeping the Village and Town governments Separate--and Sharing whichever services it makes sense to, such as Police, Real Estate Assessment, Finance, Information Technology, Administration, Town Clerk, etc.