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Opinion: Transplants aren’t all that wealthy

I’m responding to Raymond Reed’s letter published in the Feb. 12 edition of the Brandon Reporter and Feb. 13 edition of the Addison Independent.
My husband and I are two of the out-of-staters Mr. Reed refers to having moved to Brandon in 2008. To assume that we’re wealthy and are responsible for tax increases is offensive. I can assure Mr. Reed that we struggle to pay our bills just like third-, fourth- or fifth-generation Brandonites. We moved here to enjoy a better quality of life and found Vermonters (regardless of their years of residency) to be incredibly warm, friendly and welcoming.
How does Mr. Reed define wealth? Is it just a bank balance or is it what we bring to the community?
Of the Brandon residents I have come to know best, they are all raising first-generation Brandonites. These families, “wealthy” or not, own businesses and commercial real estate, rehab downtrodden properties, serve on various organizations’ boards and as a whole, give back to the community — via property taxes, volunteerism, and/or employing other residents. My husband and I chose Brandon because of its vibrant, active downtown, proximity to our employers and a tax rate that is lower than some of our neighboring towns.
Towns keep existing residents and attract new ones because of the services they offer, safety, and quality education to its children, among other things. These things cost money, and just like your grocery bill has increased, so do the costs to keep a town humming. If we don’t maintain a vibrant town with quality schools, those first-generation kids will leave to find better opportunities and, after the third-, fourth- and fifth- generation Brandonites are gone, our town will become a ghost town.
Vote however you may on the budget, but we’re all responsible for maintaining Brandon as a good place to live. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived here, where you come from or how much is in the bank.
Sue Hoxie
Brandon

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