Chester board OKs annual warning, drops cannabis discussion Town budget, paving bonds, dump truck and police cruiser among items to be voted

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Board chair Arne Jonynas explains why he wanted to drop the cannabis opt-in article from the warning Image courtesy of SAPA TV

The Chester Select Board at a special meeting on Monday afternoon approved the town’s warning for the March 2 Town Meeting Australian ballot, but decided to postpone putting an article on cannabis sales in front of the voters until board members could discuss it further in a regularly scheduled meeting.

The article – which would have asked if town residents want to authorize”cannabis retailers and integrated licensees” in Chester. This is the “opt-in” feature of the state’s cannabis regulations in which municipalities must vote to allow sales and may establish cannabis control boards to establish and enforce town specific regulations.

At the beginning of the meeting, board chair Arne Jonynas said he thought it would be better to discuss the article in a regular meeting in which the topic is warned and the public could participate rather in a special meeting on a Monday afternoon.

Because of the time limitations for warning the Town Meeting day vote, postponing the discussion meant that residents will not be voting on the question in March. After the meeting, Jonynas told The Telegraph that he felt it needed to be discussed before going to a vote but that it will indeed be voted on.

This year’s warning

Jonynas read the 21 article warning, which included $38,241 in appropriations for charitable and public service organizations including Meals On Wheels, Visiting Nurse and Hospice and the Chester-Andover Family Center.

The warning also includes five-year property tax exemptions for the Chester Rod and Gun Club, Green Mountain Softball Inc. and The Olive Branch Lodge. While the town can waive municipal tax it cannot waive state education tax, which must be paid for by the town.

Over the years, the charitable appropriations and tax exemptions have been the cause of many discussions at Town Meeting. But with the pandemic, this year there won’t be an in-person meeting and no voting from the floor. With every article being voted by Australian ballot by a larger number of voters adds some uncertainty to those items.

The warning also includes a vote on the town’s budget of $3.343 million. Other articles include paving bonds for Lovers Lane and Popple Dungeon Road, purchases of a dump truck, a police cruiser, air paks for the Fire Department and new signage as well as the $200,000 match for the Depot Street sidewalk project grant.

Challengers come forward for Select Board seats

Jan. 25 was also the deadline for seeking elective office this year to file their intentions. According to Town Clerk Deb Aldrich, the following residents threw their hats in the ring.


  • Bill Dakin

Select Board 3-year term
(one position)

  • Scott Blair
  • Heather Chase
  • Jeannie Wade

Select Board 1-year term
(two positions)

  • Leigh Dakin
  • Jeff Holden
  • William (Will)  Hoser

Trustee of Public Funds
(one position)

  • Shirley Barrett

Trustee of the Whiting Library
(three positions)

  • Lyza Gardner
  • Robert Nied
  • Donna Shields

Green Mountain Unified School District Director
(two positions)

  • Deb Brown
  • Josh Schroeder

Several ways to cast your vote

While registered voters will not be able to vote on articles from the floor this year, they can cast an Australian ballot at Town Hall, 556 Elm St., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2. And while ballots are not being mailed out to all active voters as was done in November’s General Election, registered voters can request an absentee ballot by calling the town office at 875-2173 or by emailing a request to Town Clerk Deb Aldrich or Assistant Town Clerk Amie O’Brien.

Those emails are  and

You can also request an absentee ballot from the myvoter page of the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.

Finally, you can vote early by stopping by the town office beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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