Chester, Cavendish, and Ludlow results, Chester recount confirms Chase

REGION – Local election results came back with few surprises as Cavendish, Chester, and Ludlow voters all approved their articles, along with the budgets of Green Mountain Unified School District, River Valley Technical Center, and Ludlow Mount Holly Unified Union School District. The one exception was for the three-year Chester Selectboard seat currently held by Heather Chase.

Town election results
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Chester

In Chester, although the initial ballot count showed a Chase victory by a slim six-vote margin over challenger Scott Blair, winning 251 to 245, Blair requested a recount, which took place Monday, March 8 by Chester’s Board of Civil Authority. The recount resulted in a secure win for Chase with the final vote coming in at 256 for Chase and 243 for Blair.

According to Town Clerk Deb Aldrich, the change in count is the result of an over vote override process. If the voting machine sees that someone has voted for both candidates, the vote for that category is thrown out. With the BCA review, if someone has crossed out one of those choices, or made some other comment, the board identifies the “intention” of the vote and then counts the vote for the appropriate candidate.

Chester saw a turnout of 545 voters who approved the proposed budget of $3,342,887.01 easily with 488 “yes” versus 53 “no” votes. All of Chester’s 21 articles were approved with three articles asking for exempt taxes for Chester Rod and Gun Club, Green Mountain Softball Field, and Olive Branch Lodge; however, all three receiving a higher number of “no” votes than other articles with 180, 154, and 192 respectively.

Leigh Dakin and Jeffrey Holden both retained their one-year terms on the board with 377 votes and 328 votes respectively. Will Hoser challenged their seats with 264 votes.

Bill Dakin was easily reelected as Chester’s town moderator.

In Cavendish, 163 registered voters cast their ballots, approving all four town articles, including the Fiscal year 2022 budget total of $1,651,947 which received 132 “yes” versus 24 “no” votes.

 Cavendish

The closest contest in Cavendish was for Article 4, which will rescind the Australian ballot process for adopting the town plan. That article passed 77 “yes” votes to 72 “no.” The town plan will now be approved by the Selectboard.

Only one position in Cavendish was challenged, the three-year Selectboard term currently held by Mike Ripley. He retained his seat with 89 votes versus 58 for challenger Michael Kell. The voters also reelected Mike Ripley as town moderator.

All other elected positions were running unopposed, including Stephen Plunkard and Sandra Russo, who were both elected to a one-year term on the Selectboard.

Several positions had no one running and not enough write-in votes to claim the seat such as the one-year Town Agent position, the three-year Auditor position, two-year Trustee of Public Funds, the one-year GMUSD director position, and the two-year GMUSD Director position. Dennis Michael Reilly was elected to the GMUSD board for a three-year term.

Ludlow

In Ludlow, 220 voters come to the polls, reelecting Martin Nitka as town moderator and approving all 10 articles, along with their fiscal year 2022 budget of $4,106,503 with 175 “yes” votes versus 29 “no.”

Ludlow voters also approved Article 9, which will provide Ludlow Ambulance with $312,085 to help support their efforts, by a margin of 181 to 31.

On the Ludlow Selectboard, Brett Sanderson was reelected to a three-year term with 186 votes. Scott Baitz and Justin Hyjek were both reelected to one-year terms with 191 and 170 votes respectively.

Education

For the Ludlow Mount Holly Unified Union School District, Judith Pullinen was elected as a director for a two-year term with 192 votes. She will be finishing out a three-year term. Kelly Tarbell and Paul Orzechowski were both elected to three-year terms with 178 and 165 votes respectively.

River Valley Technical Center passed their budget of $2,885,535 with 679 votes across all three towns.

Green Mountain Unified School District, which includes the towns of Andover Baltimore, Cavendish, and Chester, voted 546 to 293 to pass the $14.2 million budget, with a $17,421 per equalized pupil cost. This is a 1% increase over last year in spite of a 14% increase for the Two Rivers Supervisory Union portion of the budget, largely due to soaring special education costs. GMUSD covers approximately 65% of the TRSU budget in their numbers.

Ludlow Mount Holly Unified Union School District approved their budget of $7,235,089 with an equalized pupil cost $18,788.39. Their budget includes approximately 35% of the TRSU budget.

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