Chester residents to vote on town purchase of Sugar Loaf arts center

Referendum was approved after surprise town board meeting Monday


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By Frances Ruth Harris

At a surprise meeting Monday, the Chester Town Board approved a $1.1 million bond resolution for the town’s purchase of the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, which will now go before the town voters for approval.

The bond resolution was approved in a 3-1 vote and the referendum will appear on the back of the ballot on Nov. 6. The town board announced its plans to purchase the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center last month.

Three out of the four town council members attended the special meeting, along with Town Supervisor Alex Jamieson. Councilman Brendan Medican voted against the resolution and Councilman Ryan Wensley was absent.

The Chronicle received a press release at 11 a.m. Monday announcing that there would be a special town board meeting by order of the town supervisor at 12:30 p.m. that same day.

According to Jamieson and Deputy Supervisor Robert Valentine, the reason for the surprise meeting and the rush to vote on the matter was because today is the last day to try and add a referendum to the November ballot. Valentine said they wanted to avoid the price of a special election.

Public questions the meetingBen Ostrer, a local attorney and one of the two Chester residents at the meeting, asked why the bond wasn’t approved at the town board meeting held last Wednesday, Sept. 26. He also said that according to state law, a town supervisor needs to give board members two days notice of a special meeting.

Jamieson said he notified the board of the meeting this morning.

Ostrer also said he thought a bond resolution needed supermajority approval, meaning unanimous approval by the town board.

Town Clerk Linda Zappala said that only a three-fifths majority was needed.

At the same meeting, the town board also approved two other resolutions.

One resolution designates the town board as the lead agency in the purchase of the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center. The board also approved a negative SEQR declaration, meaning the lead agency does not believe an environmental review for the purchase will be necessary.

The town was unable to provide The Chronicle with copies of the three approved resolutions by press time.



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