Fiber optic: Of Chesterfield’s 3,062 registered voters, 240 — or 7.8 percent — gathered in the gym at Chesterfield School Saturday morning for the town’s annual meeting, most of whom attended to vote on a proposal to install a fiber optic network in town at no cost to taxpayers. The $1.8 million bond will be through the town, but the Internet provider is paying for it, as well as the remaining $2.5 million the project will cost.
Once discussion on the fiber optic article ended, there were just over 100 residents remaining.
An hour later, once the ballots had been tallied, the moderator’s announcement that the article had passed 205-35 was greeted by cheers and a round of applause.
Operating budget: Voters approved an operating budget of $3,582,398 after passing an amendment to tack an additional $600 for secretarial services for the economic development committee onto the proposed $3,581,798.
Excluding a new $155,476 line item that will be repaid through an annual highway block grant from the state, the operating budget comes to $3,426,922, which is up $174,767, or 5.37 percent, from the $3,252,155 voters OK’d last year.
Hot topic: A measure to spend $27,220 from a capital reserve fund to replace hot water heaters and boilers in the town hall annex met with opposition from budget committee Chairman Gary Winn. While selectmen recommended the full amount, the budget committee recommended only $6,000 to replace the heaters in the highway garage. Winn suggested amending the article down to $6,000.
Some residents pointed out that voters approved $440,000 to upgrade the town hall annex at last year’s meeting, and this appropriation would be in addition to those funds.
After 15 minutes of back-and-forth between residents and selectmen, the amendment failed by a voice vote, with a significant number of people in favor. The article passed as written by a show of hands.
Nuclear option: The only article on the warrant that failed was submitted by petition and would’ve adopted a resolution opposing nuclear arms. The article urged the U.S. to sign the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and would’ve asked selectmen to send copies of the resolution with a record of its adoption to the New Hampshire congressional delegation and to President Donald Trump.
Kate Day opposed the resolution, noting that “sometimes good intentions pave the road to hell.”
“... In all of these years since World War II, we have not had a nuclear weapon go off, but we probably would if we disbanded ours,” Day said. “I think this is a very nice thought, but it’s not reality-based. And I don’t want us to go from being Chesterfield to crazy-town.”
While one resident suggested coming back next year with a revised version of the resolution, another posited that a town meeting isn’t the forum to debate national politics.
The petitioner did not speak publicly in support of the article. It failed by a show of hands.
Other: All other articles passed, most by a voice vote.