The elected office side of Essex' ballot for Monday's town election has no contested races.
But voters will face two questions asking for debt exclusion overrides for Town Hall repairs and a ladder truck for the Fire Department. The town's polls at the Essex Fire Station will be open Monday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Town Meeting gave the final green light Wednesday night for sending Town Hall repairs and the ladder truck to the ballot box.
The ballot also has a question asking for a debt exclusion override for purchase of the Lahey Building, but Town Meeting voted against buying it.
A debt exclusion override allows Essex to raise property taxes over the Proposition 2 and 1/2 limit for a one-time expense, like the fire-truck. Taxes will go back to the normal rate once the debt is paid off.
"What we're doing is deferred maintenance," said Selectwoman Lisa O'Donnell.
O'Donnell said the override for town hall repairs will go for $600,000 in health and safety fixes to the aging building. The funding, she said, would be used for removing the mold in the basement, remedying rodent and insect problems and security concerns at Town Hall.
The town, O'Donnell said, deferred maintenance to the old Town Hall with the hope of moving somewhere else. Since that isn't going to happen any time soon, O'Donnell added, the town has to do some maintenance to make the building more habitable for employees.
Over the last 12 years, O'Donnell said, the town has spent $40,000 on repairs.
The town's ladder truck, said Finance Committee Chairman Jeff Soulard in a letter to the Times, isn't in much better shape. The ballot question would approve a $190,000 debt exclusion override for a new ladder truck.
"The existing ladder truck ... was purchased from the Town of Marblehead 15 years ago," Soulard wrote. "The steel body is experiencing significant rust and body rot ... additionally many electrical circuits have failed and are not repairable, the Fire Department has determined that it is no longer economical to maintain and repair this equipment."
He added that the cost of the ladder truck would cost the average household about $130 on their tax bill. Generally, municipalities pay around $800,000 to $1 million for a new ladder truck.
While voters will wrestle with the debt exclusion override questions, they won't have to make any tough decisions when it comes to picking their elected officials. The town's ballot is devoid of contested races this year, and has more than its fair share of empty spots.
Jeff Jones, current chairman of the Board of Selectmen is running unopposed, as is James Haskell in his race for a one of two open seats on the School Committee. Marlene Sanders runs unopposed for a seat on the Board of Health and Jennifer Mayer is running unopposed for a seat on the Board of Library Trustees. Beth Carins is running for a term on the Housing Authority.
No one has put in for Moderator, held currently by Rolf Madsen, one seat on the school committee, both constable seats, or a seat on the Planning Board.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.