Decision-Makers' Guide to
for Essex, VT
and other Chittenden County Communities
This website was created by Irene Wrenner to help distill a years-long conversation about Regional Dispatch to its essence.
Reduced response time is a primary, if debatable, impetus for Regionalizing Dispatch. Other issues, such as difficulty in retaining local dispatch staff, were also mentioned as early motivators.
"I didn't design this presentation for folks who have already made up their minds, either way, about Regional Dispatch.
"My goal was to establish a 'middle ground' summary for those new to the issue.
"As a 13-year volunteer with the Town of Essex, I have found that providing clear, concise, balanced communication on issues is a frequent challenge for officials.
"Having attended 10+ JSC meetings, read CCRPC's materials, and surveyed several books and articles, I feel as qualified as anyone to take a stab at this daunting task.
"Having studied UMDs in 2016, I can also offer this link to: 'Out of Sight: How Special Taxing Districts Circumvent Spending Limits and Decrease Accountability in Government.' "
(She is serving her 11th year
on the Essex Selectboard, but the views expressed here are her own -- not the board's.)
Resources for Further Study
"Parents care more about school spending... and bookworms care more about libraries, and nature lovers care more about parks, and so on.
"Rather than engaging with each other in the push-and-pull pluralism that characterizes a general-purpose gov't, ... [a Union Municipal District (UMD)] encourages each group to focus its attention, and concentrate its influence, on its own narrow policy domain.
"Because the benefits of [a UMD]'s spending accrue disproportionately to a particular group but the costs of taxation are spread over all groups, a problem arises that is analytically
similar to the overfishing problem seen in environmental economics.
"Just as each individual fisherman has an incentive to over-exploit the shared resources of the sea because he receives all the benefits of the increased catch but suffers only a small fraction of the adverse consequences... each [UMD] has an incentive to overexploit the shared tax base to provide benefits to its special-interest constituency."
From Imperfect Union: Representation and Taxation in Multilevel Governments by Christopher R. Berry, page 2.