Chester voters approve $3.975 million for budget; $39,811 for social programs Ballot voting til 7 p.m. today; officers to be elected

Chester voters at Monday night's Town Meeting listen to a presentation on the Chester budget. <small>Photos by Cynthia Prairie</small>

Chester voters at Monday night’s Town Meeting listen to a presentation on the Chester budget. Click photos to enlarge. Photos by Cynthia Prairie

By Cynthia Prairie
©2024 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The 60 or so Chester voters attending Monday night’s Town Meeting in person  approved, with a few objections, to raising $3.975 million in taxes to fund the town budget, a budget that Town Manager Julie Hance said is “what it takes to maintain the services that we now have … there is no fluff.”

Hance also highlighted the work in 2023 of the various departments — Public Safety, Recreation, Highway, Water & Sewer etc. — which she enhanced with a PowerPoint presentation.

State Rep. Heather Chase, who is an outgoing Select Board member, offers a look into the workings of Montpelier.

State Rep. Heather Chase, who is an outgoing Select Board member, offers a look into the workings of Montpelier.

The meeting was opened at 6 p.m. by Moderator Bill Dakin, with 20 people attending on Zoom.  State Sen. Alison Clarkson of Woodstock and state Rep. Heather Chase of Chester gave updates on legislation in Montpelier that will impact their towns, including firearm safety, Act 250 updates, school funding and universal school meals. Chase, who has also served on the Select Board for nine years, decided not to seek re-election this year, and is currently in the second year of her first term in Montpelier. 

Following the approval of Article 5, the town’s $3.975 budgeting bill, Dakin moved on to the annual “social” articles, that help fund various organizations and programs in Chester and the region to help residents, whether it be a ride to the hospital for a procedure, bringing a nurse into the home or providing various types of support during a time of crisis.

Several voters questioned the duplicated efforts from some of the organizations, to which members of those organizations replied that they work with one another to fill in gaps in services.

This year, the total for those articles came to $39,811 and with little or no fanfare, they all passed. They are:

  • $13,807 for the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of VT and N.H.
  • $3,044 for outpatient, mental health and substance abuse services from Health Care and Rehabilitation Services Inc.
  • $3,040 for Southeastern Vermont Community Action to assist Chester in responding to the emergency needs of families and individuals.
  • $900 to the Women’s Freedom Center to aid women and their children in difficult circumstances.
  • $1,200 for Senior Solutions to support seniors who are trying to remain at home and their families.
  • $2,250 for the MOOver Rockingham to provide transit services to Chester residents.
  • $800 for Windsor County Mentors to provide youth mentoring services to children.
  • $400 to Green Mountain RSVP & Volunteer Center of Windsor County to develop opportunities for people age 55 and older.
  • $1,800 for Community Cares Network of Chester and Andover Inc., which provides services to senior citizens, helping them to stay in their homes longer safely.
  • $3,000 for the Chester-Andover Family Center, which provides a variety of services to those in need.
  • $4,000 for Meals on Wheels of Greater Springfield Inc.
  • $1,500 for Neighborhood Connections to cover the cost of providing services in Chester.
  • $4,070 to Mountain Town Connector, a service of Neighborhood Connections that provides free transportation to Chester residents.

Voters will vote by Australian ballot today, Tuesday, March 5 until 7 p.m. to elect town officials. Those are:

  • Moderator – 1-year Bill Dakin
  • Select Board – Two 1-year seats – Arianna Knapp, Tim Roper, Lisa Rufa
  • Select Board  – 3-year term – Peter Hudkins
  • Trustee of Public Funds – One 3-year term – Shirley Barrett, Jerene Slivinsky
  • Whiting Library Trustee – Three 3-year terms – Marilyn Mahusky, Lyn Smith, Jessica Krust
  • Whiting Library Trustee — 1 year of an unexpired 3 year term – Bill Dakin
  • Green Mountain Unified School District Director – Two 3 -year terms – Tuckerman Wunderle, Randy Miles, Casey Leahy

The town will also vote the Green Mountain Unified School District budget and on fiscal issues contained in Articles 2 through 4:

  • Article 2: A bond of up to $380,000 to complete culvert replacement on Green Mountain Turnpike as well as paving Andover Road.
  • Article 3: A bond of up to $215,000 to purchase a dump trunk ($160,000) and a chipper ($55,000), both for the Highway Department, to replace such equipment that has met the end of their useful lives.
  • Article 4: A bond of up to $350,000 to purchase an ambulance, replacing one that is at the end of it useful life.


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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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