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One of the proposed Charter revisions in Bethel is to add a third option to the ballot advisory question.  Right now it's just 'too high' or 'too low' but an option of 'just right' has been discussed. 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the Selectmen would prefer if the advisory questions are removed from the ballots.  He says the Charter should be as flexible as possible.  Advisory questions could be codified in an ordinance, which can be changed more frequently and easily than the town's Charter.  If it remains in the Charter, Knickerbocker says people will just argue about tradition rather than usefulness every time revisions are studied. 

Knickerbocker says the current options have never provided the guidance they're intended to provide.  Knickerbocker served 10 years on the Board of Ed before his current 10 years on the Board of Selectmen. 

He claims they have led to some confusion over the years.  Sometimes people will only mark off the question, but not yes or no on whether to approve the budget. 

Knickerbocker says the issue goes back more than 20 years, to a single instance.  There were multiple budget failures, back when the municipal and school spending were still combined, and the Superintendent at the time didn't know whether to make cuts or add funding.

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Jill Schlesinger
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