By Patricia Minichiello
Wendy Wilton engaged in a terse exchange with a Rutland City High School English teacher and resident of Shrewsbury outside the rail Monday night.
The city treasurer, speaking as a citizen during the Board of Aldermen meeting, made a passionate plea to the board to proceed with caution on the issue of bringing 100 refugees a year to the city.
“I think what’s important here is what’s being asked of Rutland is superhuman,” Wilton said, urging board members to go slow and think about process before moving ahead.
“This won’t be free. As much as people have criticized me for the numbers I’ve put out, there is a cost for this,” Wilton said.
Wilton said arriving at the number 100 refugees is not about helping people and not about being humanitarian, but rather making sure the contractor has enough revenue coming into their business model to support the bureaucracy.
After Wilton spoke, Hunter Berryhill, a resident of Shrewsbury who works in Rutland City Schools, stood up to speak outside the rail as well.
Wearing a Rutland Welcomes button he said at some point we need the conversation to shift from whether we are going to support the refugees settling, to how to make it a success.
“Our town is very divided and it’s kind of ugly,” he said.
Wilton jumped in. “It’s not your town,” she said.
“Excuse me,” Berryhill said.
“This is not your town, you don’t live here,” Wilton said.
“That comment from Treasurer Wilton … is part of the problem we are facing living in Rutland County,” Berryhill said.
He ended by saying, “I truly believe, Treasurer Wilton that I do contribute to Rutland City, my family has contributed and I will continue to contribute.”
Patricia Minichiello is a freelance reporter and editor of vtpresspass.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.