Turnout small at Silt name change discussion
Post Independent Staff
SILT ” Only a handful of residents turned out for a discussion on the proposed name change for the town of Silt at Monday’s night’s regular town board meeting ” one in favor and the rest opposed to the idea.
Mayor Dave Moore started off the meeting explaining that the decision to change the town’s name would have to come from the people ” not the town board or the staff.
“We cannot and do not participate in the changing of the name of Silt,” Moore said. “This has to be done by a grassroots effort by the people.”
Town Administrator Rick Aluise explained that any change would have to come from a petition signed by 50 percent of the registered voters who voted in the last mayoral election, which would then be submitted to the board. From there, it could be put on the ballot for the November general election.
According to the election results in the April municipal election for town mayor, 444 people voted, so 222 votes would be needed on a petition to change the name.
But if Monday night’s turnout is any indication or the number of calls town staff has had in opposition to a name change, that’s not likely to happen.
Brian Snode of Silt pointed out that it could cost tens of thousands of dollars in costs related to a name change.
“It would be a huge financial burden on the town,” he said.
Peggy Tibbetts, wife of town trustee Tod Tibbetts, added that it would not only cost local businesses and residents, but the town operations as well. She pointed out that when a name change was proposed 14 years ago in 2002, a number of old-time residents vehemently opposed it.
“They’re not here (now) to give us their opinion, but they did 14 years ago, and I think we have to honor that,” Tibbetts said.
Eva Diaz of Silt said it was one more thing being taken away from Silt.
“They took away our school, and they’re going to take away our church,” Diaz said. “We want Silt, and we’re going to fight for Silt.”
Joyce Esgar, a relatively new resident to Silt, was the lone supporter at the meeting in favor of the name change.
“When we were looking for a home in this area, I prayed that we wouldn’t find a place in Silt,” Esgar said. “To me, the name is degrading. I feel (a name change) would increase the value of our property. I haven’t lived here long, but my family has lived here for 30 years. and I didn’t like the name then.”
Trustee Bobby Hays questioned why Esgar felt the word “Silt” was offensive.
“Maybe I’m up in the clouds, but for this beautiful country, it doesn’t do it justice,” Esgar replied. “When you tell somebody you’re from Silt ” and it never fails ” they say ‘Silt? You mean dirt?’ I think a pretty name would be better.”
Trustee Doug Williams, who brought up the subject at the April 24 board meeting, thanked all those who had called him both for and against the proposed name change.
“It’s been a good experience,” Williams said. “The bottom line is that it got community involvement, which is something that doesn’t happen near enough.”
To which Dan Young of Silt replied half in jest.
“We’re finally getting some press,” he said. “Maybe we should bring this up every couple of years.”
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