A special town meeting is scheduled in Bethel for next month, to be followed by a referendum about a critical infrastructure project for the Bethel Water Department. The Special Town Meeting is set for September 6th with a referendum, tentatively scheduled for September 13th. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says they are looking for permission for the Bethel Public Utilities Commission to accept a state loan to fund critically needed upgrades to the Bethel water distribution system.
The loan will be used to fund the replacement and upgrade of a key pumping station, and to construct new wells to improve water supply. Knickerbocker says both upgrades are necessary to continue to provide clean, safe drinking water that meets all state health standards, improve fire fighting capabilities and allow for new business development at the town’s business park.
The loan will be repaid through water rates over a 20-year period.
No taxpayer funds are involved and there is no impact on the town budget or on property tax rates. Funding for the projects will be provided by a state Department of Public Health low interest loan for small-town water systems.
Because the value of the loan exceeds $1 million, town charter requires voter approval via referendum before work can begin.