I came to Shelburne late spring to work on a local project, having rented a house on Harbor Road to be near my work.
By late July I had met many kind and interesting folks, both in the community and at church in Charlotte. I even considered the possible purchase of a local business. And being an avid reader, I enjoyed getting the Shelburne News.
It was there that I learned that the Town was about to implement an ordinance that would radically affect both residents and businesses. So, I attended the Aug. 8 selectboard meeting.
Only one board member there fully understood the implications of the ordinance. When other board members were asked specific questions, all replied in some fashion “it’s important for the safety of our children,” but clearly demonstrated no comprehension as to the abundant negative consequences.
The intransigence of the three board members, and the disdain they displayed towards folks who urged delay and complete vetting, was astounding.
Now we learn it was all staged. The rush was to file a suit against Vermont Railway before time ran out.
The pattern continued during subsequent board meetings. I watched Colleen Parker vilify the fire chief. I saw the chair arrogantly dismiss a petition circulated by the knowledgeable Chris Boyd. The board sidelined the Ethics Committee by refusing funding for independent counsel. The list goes on.
As the board majority has grown more evasive and less truthful, my ambition to be part of this community waned. I could see that owning a business in Shelburne would be a worrisome endeavor, one fraught with uncertainty and peril.
I hope the residents of this town elect new board members, who appoint a town manager in the spring, that have respect for public opinions – and not be treated with disdain when expressed. I hope the expenditures become matters for the public to vote on, rather than opaquely spent under the guise of “emergency.”
It is time for Shelburne residents to take back their town. It has been, and can be, a great place where integrity and community spirit prevail.