November 4, 2021 |

The Saratoga Town Council mustered the courage Tuesday night to do what the state legislature has refused to do. Council unanimously passed a resolution that prevents the town from discriminating against individuals using any town-owned public building or accommodation based on their vaccine status. It also prevents the town from forcing employees to take the COVID as a condition for working.

Councilman Jon Nelson introduced the resolution, which mirrors in many ways the directive Governor Mark Gordon issued in May banning vaccine passports in state government. Nelson read the resolution into the record prior to council discussion.

Pictured above: File photo of Saratoga Town Hall/Police Department. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.


Mayor Creed James said asking for someone’s vaccine status as a right of entry to public space was like asking for their political affiliation.


Prior to the council meeting, the town attorney apparently had provided comments about the resolution that expressed concerns about the possible loss of federal grants if the town enacted the proposal. In light of the potential risk of federal reprisal, council member D’Ron Campbell requested time to research possible consequences. Councilman Ron Hutchins did not disagree with Campbell’s concern to not rush into a decision. However, Hutchins who participated in the meeting by phone, said the federal mandate required local governments to take a stand.


Councilman Ben Spaulding agreed. Spaulding said if Washington retaliated against Saratoga, the town would overcome the challenges.


Councilman Nelson said Saratoga’s residents should not be subject to a mandate he believes will be proven unconstitutional. Referring to the concerns raised by legal counsel, including compliance with federal grants and contracts, as well as possible interagency conflicts created by rebelling against the mandate, Nelson said principles mattered more.


Councilman Ben Spaulding made the motion to pass the resolution banning COVID-19 vaccine status as a passport to gain entry to town events or properties or as a term of employment. Hutchins seconded. It passed unanimously.

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