In Bethel, no, too high again

The News-Times - - OPINION -

The ma­jor­ity on Bethel’s Board of Fi­nance is on a ma­ni­a­cal mis­sion to elim­i­nate the town’s short­term debt, ag­gres­sively funded by us, the tax­pay­ers. No one dis­putes the need to pay the town’s credit more than a min­i­mum pay­ment, but $650,000 is just too much, and too fast be­cause it has a di­rect and ad­verse im­pact on spend­ing.

Af­ter the first ref­er­en­dum was re­jected, and the Too High was three times higher than the Too Low, the ma­jor­ity on the Board of Fi­nance chose to play a shell game, low­er­ing that $650,000 to $385,000 af­ter learn­ing that the re­sults of a state au­dit “might” re­sult in a one-time ben­e­fit of $285,000. At the town meet­ing, it was dis­closed by the town comptrolle­r that no one re­ally knows when the state will send the pay­ment, or even if it’s 100 per­cent guar­an­teed!

The BOF made a choice to take $100,000 out of sev­eral de­part­ments, such as over­time and con­tracted ser­vices, when they could have re­duced both their cap­i­tal wish-list or their ar­ti­fi­cially high pace of pay­ing off debt.

That $100,000, put in per­spec­tive, is like go­ing to the store to pur­chase a new air con­di­tioner for $316 and ask­ing for a dis­count. Gen­er­ously, the dis­count of­fered is just a buck.

An ad­di­tional $120,000 re­duc­tion was re­quested against the cap­i­tal wish-list and re­jected by the Town Meet­ing (as ex­pected, BOF sup­port­ers came out). Noth­ing pre­vents the town from us­ing the fund bal­ance or bor­row­ing for true “needs-list” items that might arise, but then there’s that ma­ni­a­cal fo­cus against ap­pro­pri­ate use of our AAA credit rat­ing! That re­jected $120,000 re­duc­tion would have brought town spend­ing in­creases in line with the school bud­get’s in­crease.

I’ll be vot­ing NO, TOO high again, to tell the BOF to lis­ten to us, Bethel’s vot­ers! Bill Hill­man Bethel

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