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Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is running unopposed for another term leading the town.  He notes that the town is growing rapidly, by 9.5 percent since the last census.  The town is in the process of modernizing town government operations and technology.  Bethel plans to use some federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to do more with less.  Bethel is working on an online permitting system, which is 70-percent complete.  Officials are working on website enhancements that will allow more to be done remotely, and internal record keeping to reduce paper and staff time to reduce overtime.

ARPA funding will also be used to make much needed improvements at Town Hall and the High School.  Some parts of the municipal center, like the general purpose room, have never had air conditioning.  Plans call for renovating the locker rooms, which date back to the 1950s, for when the building is used as the town's emergency shelter.  The front entrance improvements include renovating restrooms that are currently closed off.

Knickerbocker says he's excited about a Sustainability Committee being established.  Bethel was one of the leading towns in setting up renewable energy, including a municipal solar farm and installing electric car chargers.  He wants to expand the initiative to other areas including recreational open space and land conservation and management. 

When it comes to adult use of recreational cannabis, Bethel regulations don't currently allow for a dispensary to locate to the town.  The moratorium was passed after a medical marijuana dispensary located in Bethel.  The facility has since moved to Danbury.  Knickerbocker doesn't object to a new dispensary in Bethel, but doesn't think there's any interest in it.

There are only two candidates for the three-member Board of Selectmen, so Democratic incumbent Richard Straiton and Republican Bryan Terzian will be seated. Bethel incumbent Town Clerk Lisa Bergh has been cross endorsed to retain her seat.  Democratic incumbent Treasurer Pat Smithwick is being challenged by outgoing Selectman Paul Szatkowski.

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