Bethel Town Meeting June 11

  • Bethel voters will decide on a proposed FY’15 $3.4 million municipal expenditure budget at Town Meeting on Wednesday, June 11.

    The day before, June 10, they will go to the polls to elect two selectmen, two School Board members and two assessors.

    If all the money articles on the meeting warrant are approved, the estimated amount to be raised from taxes for the municipal budget is about $8,000 less than last year, according to Town Manager Jim Doar. The county taxes and school share are not included in that calculation.

    Capital Improvement proposals include one to borrow $160,000 for a new plow truck over three years, at an estimated interest rate of 1.5 percent for a total estimated cost of $171,343.

    Other CI proposals include raising $125,000 to go to the Reserve Account for the future purchase of a Fire Department rescue pumper, and $362,900 to be raised for road and sidewalk work/improvements.

    Another article asks for $5,000 that would be combined with $23,000 in Maine Department of Transportation funds for constructing a sidewalk beginning near the intersection of Main and Railroad streets. It would run along Main Street across from the SAD 44 bus garage, ending at the intersection with Cross Street.

    Other new proposed expenses include an expanded, full-time code enforcement officer position for $43,157; $8,000 for a part-time recreation director; and $1,000 more to go toward fireworks for Mollyockett Day.

    The town has paid $1,000 annually toward fireworks in recent years. Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Robin Zinchuk made the request for the additional amount, noting the total cost is about $3,000.

    Also proposed is an increase in the on-call wages for ambulance personnel from $1 to $3 per hour, to bring them more in line with other area rescue organizations. The overall Ambulance Service budget would increase from $201,482 to $224,838.

    Regular articles with significant proposed increases include Employee Benefits (up to $320,195 from $282,304, much of it due to a potential full-time CEO, according to Doar) and Debt Service (up to $225,329 from $166,805, due in part to the plow truck proposal).

    Going down significantly this year is Solid Waste (down to $354,368 from $399,808).

    To reduce the tax commitment, town officials propose taking $100,000 from undesignated funds.

    In other articles, voters will be asked to authorize selectmen to apply for and accept state and federal funds, accept easements from private landowners and donations of materials equipment, labor and services for constructing an extension of the Bethel Pathway from Davis Park toward Angevine Park.

    They will also be asked to accept an easement from the Bethel Water District for recreational purposes on land abutting the Bingham Forest.

    Also proposed are amendments to the Sign and Site Plan ordinances. The Sign Ordinance amendment would allow the CEO to approve signs instead of the Planning Board.

    The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Crescent Park Elementary School.

    In town elections, seeking two available selectmen’s seats are incumbents Pat Carter and Lloyd Sweetser and challenger Aaron Crockett. (Gabe Perkins has dropped out – see Letter to the Editor, Page 2.)

    Running for two available SAD 44 School Board seats are incumbent Roberta Taylor and newcomer Amy Forbes DiVivo.

    Candidates for two assessor positions are Donald G. Bennett and Robert Blake.