February 26, 2018

Chester Town Meeting to Consider Approval for New Ambulance

CHESTER— Voters will be asked at a town meeting Wednesday to approve funding for purchase of a new ambulance, the Main Street Project, and next year’s town-wide property revaluation. The town meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street.

First Selectman Edmund Meehan said Friday funding for all of the items on Wednesday’s agenda is included in the current town budget and capital expenditure plan or the undesignated fund, with a town meeting vote needed for transfers and expenditure of the funds. Meehan said $132,000 was left unexpended from the 2011-2012 town budget, partly due to less spending for snow removal during the mild winter.

Voters will be asked to authorize transfers and expenditures of the surplus funds, including $75,000 for the Main Street Project, $32,000 for purchase of equipment for the highway department, and $25,000 for the town-wide property revaluation that must be completed in 2013. Bids for the property revaluation will be opened on Sept. 6.

Meehan said the $75,000 for the Main Street Project will add to, but not fully complete, the funding package for the long-planned reconstruction of Main Street in the downtown village. The town has applied for a $300,000 state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant that would complete the funding package for the project.

Wednesday’s town meeting agenda also includes authorization of an expenditure of $26,030 to pay the Groton firm of Kent & Frost LLC to prepare a village and town center district master plan that will be used to guide the project. The appointed Main Street Committee and the board of selectmen approved hiring of the firm as project consultant earlier this summer. Voters at the meeting will also be asked to approve an expenditure of $189,000 to purchase a new ambulance for the Chester Volunteer Ambulance Service.

One item that is not on Wednesday’s agenda is action on an agreement with Essex Savings Bank for lease of the vacant ground floor space at town hall. Meehan said Friday negotiations with the bank on a lease agreement are “moving forward,” with the board of selectmen expected to act on a proposed agreement at its Sept. 4 meeting. The agreement would also need approval from the board of finance before it is presented to voters for final approval at a town meeting expected early this fall.

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