Report by Paula Antolini
October 23, 2017 9:06AM EDT
LETTER TO THE EDITOR / OPINION
Letter to the Editor: Here’s Why Bethel Voters Should Vote Row B Republican on November 7th
On November 7th, Bethel Voters will answer the question “are we better off now”, and that’s answered by keeping some things the same, and to change others.
Bethel Boards are multi-partisan. Everyone gets some credit for community successes. But each key board is led by a majority party, and is chaired by a member of that party.
In election years, it’s often just the “top of the ticket” claiming bragging rights, as does the current First Selectman in so many letters, op-eds and postings on Facebook during business hours. As the Chair of the Bethel Republican Town Committee, I’ve come to know many fine people who are the leaders of our key Boards. The Boards of Finance, Education, Planning & Zoning, the Police Commission, and others are where the “real” work of the Town gets done.
The Board of Education, led by Republican Larry Craybas, has delivered fiscally appropriate operating budgets in support of sustainable educational improvements. Our schools, Bethel’s “Crown Jewel”, compete with the best of the best! Designated as “Schools of Distinction and Excellence”, our Music Program is one of the one hundred Best in the U.S., and our NJROTC program is “Best in Class” 14 years running! According to Niche.com, the Bethel School District ranks 27th Best in Connecticut (there are 169 Towns in Connecticut). The Board of Education needs its Republican Leadership. Our candidates are Melanie P. O’Brien, Nicholas F. Hoffman, William B. Foster, and Frances S. Pulle.
The Board of Finance is tasked with overall Financial Management. They review the budget for the aforementioned Board of Education and the Town’s Budget, as recommended by the Board of Selectmen. The rate of change in taxes (sourced from Bethel’s Annual Reports) has come down, long term, under Republican Leadership. While there have been some years with big increases since 2003, (the Democrats did control the board a number of times), the long term trend has been decelerating an average of -.25% per year. In the past three years, the current Board of Finance, led by Bruce Cornwell has managed the Mill Rate change to below the rate of inflation. This long term trend demonstrates thoughtful investment in Bethel’s needs, and discernment regarding “wants”. This steadfast guiding hand has earned Bethel’s “AAA” rating. I thank our Board of Finance for that, and no other Board. Our Candidates include Bruce Cornwell, Alfred J. Bernard, William R. Kingston, Timothy P. Draper, and William H. Slifkin
Planing and Zoning, led by Incumbent Patricia Rist, is joined by Republican Candidates Kitty A. Grant, Steven B. Deuschle, and James P. Hancock. This board has to balance many requirements imposed by the law against legal and emotional issues brought by developers and property owners. Our Republicans have done a superb job navigating a minefield of regulations. Given the need to balance Town needs versus law, the leadership of this Republican led Board has resulted in 120 acres of open space purchases, enhancing Bethel’s downtown area, initiating the Bethel Forward Plan, pursuing balanced levels of development, reasonable grand-list growth (which offsets tax increases), and to hear all zoning requests fairly with transparent and honest communications. While some things need to stay the same, other things must change.
We offer a unique opportunity for change at the top of our ticket. Cynthia McCorkindale, an accomplished project manager in the Retail Business, a tireless advocate for the taxpayer, Cynthia is an international recording artist. A member of the Board of Finance, and formerly a member of the Board of Education, Cynthia offers an open, honest change for Bethel.
The current First Selectman once advocated “NO TOO LOW”, when Bethel’s voters had already rejected a 5.9% tax increase. When he was negotiating the sale of the Bethel Water System behind closed doors, it was solely through Cynthia’s efforts where the details of that so-called “done deal” were brought to light, and later rejected by the electorate. It was Cynthia McCorkindale who spearheaded “all or nothing”, later becoming part of State Law regarding Town Communications. A vote for Cynthia McCorkindale means change for the better.
Please vote Republican Row B on November 7th.
Bill Hillman, BRTC Chair