Ballston Spa Village Board at 20 Chestnut St. meeting/Ballston Journal

Village Board Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution

BALLSTON SPA – The Village Board Monday passed a resolution to “reject hatred and racism all kinds, verbal, written or physical — most recently exemplified by the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

The lengthy resolution  also says “the members of the Board of Trustees consider it imperative that communities like ours across the country affirmatively and immediately stand up against the un-American and anti-democratic actions of such race-based hate groups,” and that the village “welcomes all residents and visitors no matter the color of their skin, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation.” 

The Charlottesville gathering over the weekend that is referred to in the resolution involved violence between rival demonstrators over the city’s proposed removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and included the alleged murder of a woman by an apparent Nazi sympathizer.

The Ballston Spa resolution, sponsored by Democratic Trustee Noah Shaw, was passed unanimously by the board, which has a 3-2 Republican majority. The Republicans, including Mayor John Romano, objected to one aspect of it, the proposed creation of an advisory group. Romano opened the discussion to members of the public, some of whom echoed this concern, saying such a group was not needed and could create more problems than it would solve.

Accordingly, Shaw amended the proposed resolution to eliminate creation of the advisory group,  instead saying the village will “welcome recommendations” from all residents “regarding appropriate steps the Village can take to underscore and strongly communicate the Village’s policy of openness and inclusivity.”

After the meeting, at the request of the Journal, Shaw provided the text of the adopted resolution, but said he still needed to confirm some of the language “with the mayor and village attorney — this is not final final final.”

After the resolution passed, Romano said that in his 27 years of being involved in local government, this was “one of the best public meetings I’ve ever attended.”

In other business, the board voted to spend $4,814 to replace a chlorine monitor at the Rowland Street well field in Milton, and $4,642 on loader repairs for the Department of Public Works. It also spent $5,555 at Union Fire Co. for hose, pump and ladder testing, and gear.

The board spent $2,013 for T-shirts and food for Saturday’s Swimming Under the Stars program at the municipal pool near Kelley Park. The town of Milton shares these and other costs for the annual program, which took place on Saturday. Romano estimated more than 350 people were in attendance.

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Reporter Bob Conner has worked 21 years in various positions at the Gazette of Schenectady, and before that four years as a reporter at the Glens Falls Post-Star. He won two first-place writing awards from the New York Associated Press Association for newspapers with circulation between 50,000 and 250,000. Bob has a Phi Beta Kappa bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University, and an associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling from HVCC. He is a published author and is currently writing a historical novel about the last four months in the life of Ulysses S.Grant

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