Bethel residents have rejected a combined municipal and education budget proposal of about $70.9 million. It represented a 1.13 percent tax increase. There was about a 26-percent turn out at the polls. Last budget process took four votes to gain approval of a plan.
The proposed municipal budget of $27.6 million was rejected by 29 voters, according to unofficial tallies. The proposed education spending of $43.28 million was unofficially rejected by 3 votes. That will trigger an automatic recount.
The municipal budget received 1,438 yes votes and 1,467 no votes. 1,873 residents said the plan was too high while 599 said it was too low. The education budget received 1,451 yes votes and 1,454 no votes. 1,760 residents said the plan was too high while 701 said it was too low.
One of the 14 capital items, making up about half of the $2 million proposal, is road reconstruction, was approved 1,780 to 1,103.
The capital items are as follows:
$50,000 for the 2017 revaluation work
$30,000 for a new air compressor for the Bethel Fire Department
$52,000 in structural repairs to the Highway Garage
$285,000 for an emergency generator for Bethel High School
$35,000 for a Building Department vehicle replacement
$20,000 for a fuel maintenance system
$118,000 for a backhoe/loader replacement
$170,000 for a Highway Department vehicle replacement
$15,000 for two funnel plows
$12,000 for a trailer for the Parks and Recreation Department
$18,000 for a top dresser for the Parks and Recreation Department
$30,000 for construction of Rubino Property Fields
$50,000 toward the 2017 Plan of Conservation and Development
$1 million in road reconstruction