Pawlet's Handicapped Decision
December 4, 2009 § 2 Comments
PAWLET— In a unique move yesterday the residents of Pawlet narrowly voted no on a measure to continue updates to the historic Pawlet Town Hall by matching a $105,000 handicapped access grant with a $50,000 loan.
“Are you kidding me?” one unidentified voter explained, “In this economy, getting triple our initial investment is just not good enough. Heck- they could octuple our money and it wouldn’t be enough. For fifty-thousand dollars I want Donald Trump on his hands and knees sanding the floors in a three piece suit, and a deep tissue massage for every town resident from a Las Vegas chorus girl.”
Varying degrees of this same sentiment were echoed at the town informational meeting held the night preceding the town-wide vote.
“For that amount of money, couldn’t we just fix all the handicapped people in town?” Eunice Staunchbaum wondered that night. Longtime selectman Keith Mason replied that, in his opinion, fixing all the handicapped people was probably not a possibility, although in fact no one actually had the numbers with them at that moment to back this assertion up.
Other matters discussed at the informational meeting included whether the money in question could actually be used to pay handicapped and otherwise disabled persons to move to neighboring Wells, and whether anyone present actually knew anyone who was handicapped, and if so, whether it was actually their own fault for doing something stupid like bungee jumping or something.
“Shouldn’t the Town Hall be reserved for normal people?” Alice Askerslap wanted to know. Longtime Selectman Keith Mason replied that, in his opinion, the Town Hall could not legally be reserved only for non-disabled residents, although in fact no one actually had the numbers with them at that moment to back this assertion up.
Several voters expressed doubts about the very existence of the Pawlet Town Hall, despite assurances from the Select Board that they do indeed meet there every other Tuesday night, and photographic evidence to the contrary.
“The way I figure it, if I don’t see it, I shouldn’t have to pay for it,” declared resident Ernest Apple, who explained that he closes his eyes when he drives down School Street, and therefore has no obligations regarding the matter, except to pay for Ray Foster’s mailbox replacement every few weeks.
Other residents in attendance wondered if in fact it wasn’t too late to bulldoze the Town Hall, replacing it with a more economical alternative such as a pup tent from Sears or perhaps a yurt.
It would seem that the skeptics may have a point. Despite rumors that have spread throughout the community to the effect that the Pawlet Town Hall is 14,025 years old, in fact it is only 128 years old. Additionally, although it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is completely absent from UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites, the list of 1000 Places You Have to See Before You Die, and the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time. And then there is the difficulty of the location: inaccessibly tucked away behind a series of parking spaces on the remote Pawlet town green in the center of town.
“I sure don’t know why we have been pouring so much money into a building that hardly ever gets used except for at tax time and by the Select Board and the Listers,” commented Shep Fredericks yesterday morning while getting a coffee at Mach’s General Store.
“And by the Town Treasurer. And the Town Clerk,” added a voice from behind the donut rack.
“Right,” said Fredericks.
“And for voting. Everybody goes there to vote,” added a young woman from behind the cash register.
“The town records are there,” interjected another unidentified customer, perusing the beef jerky selection. “And the church’s records. Going back to the church founding.”
“I remember going to square dances there every weekend,” piped up an elderly customer seated on the bench by the deli counter. “Met my wife at one of those dances. True story.”
“Okay! Okay. But besides for voting and taxes and records and permits and meetings and town history and title searches and marriage certificates and birth certificates and dog licenses and garbage tags, besides those things, what is the Town Hall really for anyway?” Fredericks asked.
Longtime Selectman Keith Mason replied that he would be happy to tell him, however no one actually had the numbers with them at that moment to back this assertion up.