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.