The Bethel Community Gazette
Sunday
May. 19, 2019
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opinion
Bethel Deserves Better
On April 1st, several hundred Town citizens came together for the Town Meeting to review the Town and School budgets. Given the topic, how best to tax Bethel's citizens and spend that revenue, it was a reasonably orderly meeting. Everyone had a chance to speak on topics from the cost of sand to the need for new band uniforms. Our editorial that week praised our moderator for such a well run meeting. And at the following referendum, the School budget passed while the Town and Capital budgets did not. Which led to the Town Meeting on April 24th. At that meeting, held to consider the updated Town budget and Capital budget presented by the Board of Finance, only a small fraction of the first meeting turned out. Yet discussion was abruptly cut short, with many in the audience indicating that they wished to speak being denied the opportunity to do so. Tempers flared. People stormed out.

To some extent, whether the required 2/3rds of present registered voters approved the motion for an early end of discussion is not the point. Whether non-registered voters were allowed to participate is not the point, either. Bethel is a wonderful, small town made up of neighbors who came together to consider what to do in order to get to a viable Town budget. Silencing the voices of registered voters is a terrible, wrenching thing, whether the technicalities allow it or not. We expect better, and fear that the Town will be dragged through the need for a third Town meeting in large part due to the growing backlash from this maneuver. That would be a heavy price to pay for whatever gain came from cutting off 15 or 20 minutes of additional discussion.

Whenever we are called to meet again, we hope that all voters will have the chance to ask their questions, voice their proposals and concerns, and that we never again see such a terrible deprivation of basic inclusion. Because Bethel deserves much better.

Editor's Note:

Since publication of this editorial, some have mis-interpreted this as a critique of the Town Meeting Moderator, Alice Hutchinson. It is not. We are extremely impressed with Ms. Hutchinson's calm, professional management of a very unruly meeting. We are, however, deeply disappointed in the actions taken by meeting members who saw fit to silence fellow Bethel citizens in order, at best, to shave a few minutes from an information packed meeting, or, at worst, to prevent discusion of other voters concerns or questions.


Published Sunday, April 28, 2019


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Accountants & Bookkeepers
Bethel Tax Services, LLC -
Matthew T Close, EA
(203) 470-7866
www.betheltax.com
Bliss, Allred & Co. LLC
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CironeFriedberg
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Melillo & Mitchell, LLC
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Appliance Repair & Sales
Buzaid Mutual Appliance and Scratch-N-Dent Outlet
203-743-6321
203-775-7066
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Attorney & Legal
Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola LLC
203-744-1929 ext25
www.danburylaw.com
Gager, Emerson, Rickart, Bower & Scalzo,LLP
(203) 207-5400
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Automotive & Motorcyle Repair
Belardinelli Tire Company
(203) 748-0889
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Colonial Ford
(203) 748-3503
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Colonial Mazda
(203) 748-8700
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Colonial Subaru
(203) 744-8383
Carpenters
KL&R Construction, LLC
(203) 938-4357
www.klrconstruction.com
Marr Carpentry
(203) 948-5726
Peter Schneider Builder Contractor
(203) 743-5548
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Catering
Biksbees
203-730-9298
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Daily Fare, LLC
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Rocco's Cafe & Deli
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Child Care
KinderCare Learning Center
(203) 792-6991
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Precious Moments Day Care
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Regional Y of Western CT
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Sandbox Daycare Center of Bethel
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Computer Service & Technology
Bethel IT Services, LLC
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Microsoft
203-885-4593
www.microsoft.com
PC Advisors LLC
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Tech Savvy
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Contractors
Codfish Hill Construction
203-994-1727
Greenway Industries, Inc
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KL&R Construction, LLC
(203) 938-4357
www.klrconstruction.com
New England Propane
203-792-7654
www.newenglandpropane.com
Peter Schneider Builder Contractor
(203) 743-5548
www.peterSchneiderBuilder.com
Redwood Construction & Consulting, LLC
203-470-2375
Roots Landscaping LLC
203.702.4408
The Rizzo Companies, Inc.
(203) 731-3131
www.rizzocompanies.com