Report by Paula Antolini
May 6, 2018 11:37PM EDT
On Thursday, May 10th, there will be no one to ‘move the question’ and muffle the voice of the taxpayer — Letter to the Editor from Billy Michael
Last November, Bethel voters gave control of the Board of Finance to the Democrats – and what a difference a day makes!
Historically, this board has been the sober, deliberative body whose role is to restrain the yearly financial requests of the town’s boards and commissions.
Of approximately 120 town officials, it is these seven elected officials who are solely responsible for REDUCING the Board of Selectmen’s annual budget proposal and submitting it to voters at the annual budget meeting, who then refer it to referendum.
At the April 24th reconvened town budget meeting, we were shocked to learn that the revised proposal is STILL LARGER than the one the Selectmen originally presented to the Board of Finance. In fact, Finance Chair, Robert Manfreda, made Bethel history when he publicly proclaimed the Selectmen’s budget was “insufficient” to run the town!
Our town has never seen its fiduciary gatekeepers pack an additional $1 million into a proposed budget in a year with a $1 million REDUCTION in state aid!
Consider how many budgets Selectmen Knickerbocker, Straiton and Szatkowski have prepared over time. With countless years of combined experience in these matters, how could they possibly present an annual budget “insufficient” to meet the needs of the town? The Selectmen have always submitted their budget proposal with the full expectation that the Board of Finance will make further reductions!
Last Thursday, our political leadership, in an obviously pre-planned operation, chose to silence citizen discussion on the $890,000 police station overrun at the special town meeting
However, at the voting booth on Thursday, May 10th, there will be no one to “move the question” and muffle the voice of the taxpayer. It is we who must restrain Bethel’s activist Board of Finance.
Vote No, Too High.