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Contentious discussion in Bethel on Fire Department project requests

There was a contentious discussion among the two Bethel Board of Selectmen  members when it comes to the way to fund requests made by the two volunteer Fire Departments in town.  A number of items were on the agenda for their last meeting, with the proposals to be funded from the capital non-recurring  fund. 

"These are the types of projects that  should either be included in their budget, or should be paid for this year with American Rescue Plan Act dollars," said Selectman Bryan Terzian. 

The request was approved to spend little more than $16,000 to replace AEDs at Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department over the next year. Terzian noted that he did so under protest, but in the interest of public safety. 

The matter was sent to the Board of  Finance. 

The other items, a new truck for the Stony Hill Fire Chief and new motors and Red/Green light safety system for the bay doors at Bethel Fire  Department, were put off to a future meeting. 

"The truck was supposed to  go through as part of a capital budget plan, but kept getting pushed back," said Stony Hill Chief John Baker.  

He tried to put the AEDs through as an ARPA request and was turned down. As the equipment become obsolete, it's become an emergency request. 

Comptroller Brad Heering suggested getting a full list from the Fire Commission of all their requests to be dealt  with at one time.  Officials could then review the CNR fund and ARPA  funds.