By Kaitlin Bedell
CHESTER – The Town Meeting was open to Chester residents on Saturday, May 15 to vote on various proposals brought forward by several town boards. The event took place at the Chester Academy Parking Lot from 9:00 am-12:00pm.
Each Article that the town reviewed focused on the overall cost and tax impact that it would have on the town of Chester’s community.
Chester voters passed 19 new articles, failed two, and tabled two.
Among the most expensive articles approved was the Operating Budget for the Chester School Districts. The total cost approved was $5,156,173 with an overall $7.12 impact on taxpayers.
The Town Meeting also voted to pass the Highway CIP funding with a cost of $750,000 and a tax impact of $.85 for Chester Residents.
According to the meeting, the request for the $750,000 will be offset by “Highway Block Grant funds of $144,597 equivalent to $605,403 after taxation”. This money will then be deposited into the Highway CIP Capital Reserve Fund for use in the future.
Other articles that were passed which will have a tax impact on Chester Residents includes the CIP Funding with a tax of $.55, the 300th Anniversary costing $.01, Church Steeple Repair costing $.03, Revaluation costing $.02, and the Master Plan Update costing $.02.
The Meeting also passed the implementation of “Indigenous Peoples Day” on August 19. The meeting noted that this would not be in place of Columbus Day and that the two would take place on two separate dates.
Out of the 23 proposed articles, the Chester voters at the Town Meeting did not approve of two of them.
The voters denied the Historic Building Capital Reserve Fund Article. This article initially costed $400,000 but was amended to add $150,000 for a total of $550,000. This amendment was not approved. This issue would have had no tax impact because the money would have been taken from the Unassigned Fund Balance.
Town members also decided to vote against Changing the town meeting date back to May.
In addition to the two articles that the Town Meeting denied, they also decided to table two issues and continue to discuss them prior to making a final decision on them.
The first article which was tabled was the Winter Road Maint Fund. Those at the meeting decided that there was “No need to utilize this as the budget underspent due to a mild winter.”
Another issue which was tabled at the meeting was accepting the donation from 78 Raymond Road. This donation to the town would have had no tax impact as it was a complete donation.
Dianna Charron moved to un-table this article, but that vote failed.
Although it was later passed, the Town Meeting also initially tabled the Rescind Cemeteries Special Revenue Fund. The Fund is non-monetary and follows the improperly setup “Special Revenue Fund” from 2013. After reconsidering the table, the article passed with a 77-26 vote.
Throughout the Town Meeting, 145 Chester Residents voted on the issues that were presented out of the 4,376 registered voters in town. The annual meeting will take place again next year at a date that will later be determined.