The Bethel budget proposal has been approved to go to referendum. During the annual town meeting Monday night, residents nearly unanimously sent the budget to an April 18th vote. The plan represents a 2.38 percent increase in spending over the current fiscal year.
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said under the circumstances, that's a reasonable increase. He noted that it's below the average rate of inflation and modest by modern standards. Knickerbocker says the budget maintains school programs like Junior ROTC, AP classes and Pathways to Professions.
On the town side, two positions have been eliminated from the budget due to new efficiencies.
There was a motion raised that could have saved the town about $5,000. Bethel Action Committee founder Billy Michael says the tax watchdog group wants legal notices published in the Penny Saver rather than in a daily circulated newspaper. Michael says the less expensive medium goes to every household, and is currently used by Brookfield and Hamden.
State statute required published written notification of meetings and votes.
But Knickerbocker says the Town Charter calls for notice in a newspaper of general circulation, and the Penny Saver doesn't fit the legal definition.