State Rep. Emily Long, D-Newfane, right, explains what the Legislature is working on during Marlboro's Town Meeting on March 7.
MARLBORO—Debating the merits of Act 46 and budget issues took up a good portion of this year’s Annual Town Meeting.
But Marlboro voters, as they traditionally do, were thinking beyond the town’s borders.
Resident Woody Bernhard introduced language for a sentiment he thought the town should stand for: “We, the voters of the town of Marlboro, Vermont, proudly support the civil rights of all people, without regard to their race, religion, gender or economic status.”
“For me, it’s an anti-fascist statement,” Bernhard said during lunch. “It’s also a statement for me about oppressive corporate tyranny around the world and the exploitation, even enslavement, of the people of the world.”
It was decided that his language would be the first thing decided on after lunch following the conclusion of the long education discussion.
A woman moved to adjust the language to “We, the voters of the town of Marlboro, Vermont, proudly support the civil rights of all people, without regard to their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, and education level.”
Discussion followed on what constitutes race and ethnicity and whether the phrasing encompassed immigration rights.
“The core idea is to be as inclusive as possible,” another voter said. “I stand with the new motion.”
Bernhard said he supported the additions to his language, stating his motion was about “supporting civil rights for all people and making the proposal acceptable for the largest amount of people possible.”
The motion for the addition of the language passed and the language itself was voted in.
Another article, which proclaims the second Monday of October to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day, rather than Columbus Day, also passed. It used the same language as an article that will be voted upon at Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting later this month.
As for more nuts-and-bolts matters, the school budget for the 2017-18 school year of $2,582,426 was approved. It represents spending of $16,901 per equalized pupil, a 1 percent increase compared with the prior year.
These town expenses were also approved: $275,000 for the general fund; $360,000 for highways and their maintenance; $24,457 for emergency services; $9,929 for social-service agencies; $3,000 for the Marlboro Mixer newsletter; and $3,234 for SeVEDS.
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