A Very Curious Way To Do Business

The above was posted on Twitter by Ellen Barry, regional correspondent for the New York Times (last seen publishing a big piece on the Daniel Banyai/West Pawlet standoff). It’s the front cover of Stratton, Vermont’s annual report.

And as you can see, it’s just chock full of Vermont’s bloated sense of superiority that we all know and love.

Okay, well, it’s a rural place tucked in the middle of southern Vermont, so you might excuse a little short-sightedness and/or pig-ignorance.

But Stratton? Its biggest industry is tourism. Its biggest employer is the Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, which boasts of being “The Best Ski Resort Near New York City.” The resort couldn’t be more welcoming to outsiders, because its profitability depends on them.

Furthermore, according to Zillow, the average home price in Stratton is a robust $750,939. Prices have risen by 8% during Our Pandemic Year. How many Stratton homes have been purchased by non-Vermonters since last March, and before?

How much does the town’s bottom line benefit from outsider dollars? What would become of Stratton if there were no outsiders?

Clear case of biting the hand that feeds you. Now, let’s address the fear and hatred displayed in this front-page message from the town government.

Let’s say I, a hypothetical city boy, plunk down a cool $750K for an average house in Stratton. And I, perhaps grudgingly, perhaps willingly, pay my big fat property tax bill. (A bit north of $15,000 per year, btw) And then I receive this annual report in the mail, basically telling me to shut the F up and let the natives run the place exactly as they always have.

Well, I’d have a little problem with that.

Translate this message into Bumper-Sticker, you get “Don’t New York My Vermont,” a message of intolerance and resistance to change.

With change being strictly defined as “unwelcome outsider interference.” But those outsiders are keeping your little burg afloat.

So, Stratton. I won’t ask you to stop being xenophobic. That’s probably too much to expect. But you might want to stop being so stupid.


7 thoughts on “A Very Curious Way To Do Business

  1. kevinellis

    This cannot be true. A hoax. Fake News. Something. Anything. I grew up skiing at Stratton in the 70s and 80s. It was my gateway to coming to VT permanently. I cannot believe they would do this. Begs for deeper reporting.

    1. C

      I thought so too but it’s true. Absolutely disgusting. Someone pandering to the 230 locals who come to town meeting has just slit the throat of his town. With an average home price of 750k just how many of these locals does he think are natives? And what percentage of the tax base do they represent? Maybe the town should be giving non-resident owners a year off from property taxes? Some joke.

  2. Paul Carnahan

    Vtdigger has confirmed that this is real news. This is more than a stupid mistake by one town clerk. It is a negative mark on the entire state that will make it hard for Vermonters to advocate for anti-xenophobic legislation nationally.

  3. Lisa

    The town clerk who did this discusses it here:

  4. John Odum

    I am surprised this is only being phrased in terms of Xenophobia. When you say people-who-aren’t-just-like-us aren’t welcome, race comes at the absolute top of the list. Consciously or no (and the image does have, in effect, the classic “I’m not racist but…”), this is one definitive example of bias in this state that is going to be especially impactful to people of color. And I don’t think you just reduce it to “implicit” bias, either.


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