Chichester goes forward with Town Meeting and draws a crowd

  • Voting in Chichester at the Grange Hall in the center of town on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 3/14/2020 3:41:11 PM

Faced with the decision to hold Town Meeting Saturday morning or postpone given the coronavirus warnings, the town went ahead with business as usual. 

“I think we had more people this year than we did last year,” Town Clerk Evelyn Pike said. “We didn’t know what to expect.”

In all about 80 voters attended the Saturday meeting and passed every single warrant article, including the operating budget of $2.74 million, which is an increase of $143,000 over last year.

Pike said selectmen plan to meet with all department heads on Tuesday night to establish protocols going forward in light of the virus. All employees who don’t feel well are encouraged to stay home, and anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to work will be allowed to stay home until the protocols are put in place Tuesday.

In addition, anyone who is food insecure is encouraged to call Town Hall for assistance from the food pantry, Pike said.

At the annual meeting, voters also approved an article authorizing the select board to choose a road agent, as opposed to the town voting on it. That item generated the most discussion during the 2 ½ hour meeting. A similar question was posed to the town a few years ago. The approval means that officials have the opportunity to hire an agent with solid experience in planning and road maintenance.

In addition, voters agreed to deposit $180,000 into six capital reserve funds, with the top contribution being the $60,000 sought for the fire truck fund.

In town-wide voting Tuesday, incumbent Richard Bouchard beat Russell Blaney and Stephen MacCleery for a seat on the select board.

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