Chesterville to hold elections this Friday, town meeting on June 1

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Chesterville residents vote at a special town meeting held in July 2019. Unlike previous years, this town meeting will be held in the nearby fire station, providing space for social distancing.

CHESTERVILLE – Voters will elect four residents to the Selectboard and decide on a little more than $1 million in proposed municipal expenditures at the annual town meeting this year. The election of officers will take place on May 29, while the rest of the town meeting is scheduled for June 1 at the fire station.

Chesterville previously scheduled its town meeting for March, per usual; the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions resulted in that meeting being postponed until May 29. On Friday, May 29, polls will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. Residents will be casting ballots on four Select Person, Assessor & Overseer of the Poor positions, with all candidates running uncontested. Guy Iverson is running for the three-year term, John Archer is running for a two-year term and Scott Gray and Linda Bauer are running for one-year terms.

Deputy Town Clerk/Treasurer Rachel Heseltine said that the town office would have three of its voting booths available and would limit the number of people in the office at any given time. While a large turnout isn’t anticipated, given the uncontested races, Heseltine said that the election would provide the town staff with practice for July’s primary. Staff would be sanitizing surfaces and promoting social distancing, Heseltine said.

The town meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 1 at 7 p.m. at the Chesterville Fire Station next to the town office. Every registered voter in Chesterville will be able to attend and participate in the meeting, Heseltine said, while non-registered voters and non-residents are invited to view the meeting through a Facebook video. The fire station will provide enough space to allow for social distancing, town officials have said, and the station’s large bay doors could be opened to accommodate a larger-than-anticipated number of residents. Heseltine said that space in the town office would also be available for people that might want to watch the town meeting video but didn’t have the capability.

Included in the warrant will be the recommendations of the Selectboard and Budget Committee. While the bottom lines are relatively close – the board is recommending $1.029 million in municipal expenditures while the committee’s recommendation is roughly $2,000 less – there are differences in specific articles. The board is recommending slightly more to fix the fire station roof, $23,450 compared to the committee’s $21,365, after opting for a maroon PermaColor option that is more than the uncolored, silver roof advocated for by the committee.

Both the board and committee recommend entering into a lease/purchase agreement not to exceed $155,000 to acquire a combination pumper/tanker. The recommendations differ on when to make the initial payment: while the committee is recommending paying the $18,432 out of the proposed budget, the Selectboard is recommending deferring it one year, with the annual payment to be $19,062 for 10 years. A separate article would dispose of Engine 2 and the town’s tanker, depositing the revenue garnered through that sale in the Fire Department Capital Reserve account.

The Selectboard is also recommending larger appropriations for the fire department, public works and the Chesterville Days celebration, a combined difference of roughly $18,000.

Both committees’ proposals are under the 2020 Property Tax Levy Limit – also known as the LD1 limit – by more than $25,000. The Road Committee has recommended appropriating $400,000 for the Capital Roads Project, a significant increase from the $262,300 figure cited in the Selectboard and Budget Committee recommendations. If residents adopted the $400,000 figure, it would represent an additional 8 percent increase in local assessments over the impact of the lower figures, Heseltine said.

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