ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX)-The Essex Experience has been going through a renaissance over the past few years and the owner says it was intended.
Today, perhaps the most prominent area of the town of Essex will face the tax implications of their separation from the village.
“If the Village leaves the town it will take 42% of the property tax base with it,” explained Andrew Watts, the Essex Selectboard Chair.
He estimates that the property tax will increase by about 20% once its separation from the Barrio is completed in July.
Watts said there will be little conversation as to whether it will influence businesses to move elsewhere.
“I think it’s a possibility,” Watts speculates. “There are individual households that can’t afford the tax increase, so I don’t know. It’s likely. ”
Essex Experience owner Peter Edelmann said they do everything they can to protect businesses during the separation.
“I structure all my rentals in such a way that they are not affected by that. I will bear that burden and if I am right then we will all win,” Edelmann said.
He has owned the outlets for 27 years. At one point, the property was dominated by big box stores, but he recently shifted to a local focus and wanted it to stay that way.
“There’s a lot of talent in Vermont and in all the different categories we’re here at Experience Essex and I think when people come to Vermont they’re looking for something real,” Edelmann explains.
However, locality studies are also attracting new businesses, such as Bramble. Owner Shawn Hyer and his wife spent years focusing on restaurant businesses across the country before they returned to the state of Vermont. They say the local aspect of the Essex Experience is a major draw.
“We’re lucky to be part of this rebirth, this change that provides opportunities for many small businesses in Vermont,” Hyer said. Everyone here, all of our neighbors are all small independent businesses owned by the Vermont family and so are our producers.
Three more businesses are expected to open Essex Experience in the coming months.
The City of Essex will host a strategic planning session this Saturday at 10 a.m. to discuss taxes and other changes that will come to the community as a result of the separation.
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