Yesterday, the Bethel Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to send a revised road repair project to the board of finance for approval. The original 8.5 million dollar proposal was rejected by the Board of Finance last week.
Under the new proposal, funding for the repairs to the roads will be done in increments with the first two million going towards phase one of the project. WIth the Board of Selectmen’s vote, the proposal now goes to the Board of Finance for final approval this Thursday before public referendum.
While the selectmen agree that the conditions of the road are unacceptable and need to be addressed, the Democrats and Republicans have different views on how best to fund the project. While expressing their displeasure with the Board of Finance’s rejection of the original proposal, Democratic First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker and Selectman Richard Straiton supported the idea of paying for the multi-year project with one bond as opposed to multiple bonds over a series of years. Sympathizing with the concerns raised by the Board of Finance, Republican Selectman Paul Szatkowski stated that funding the project with a series of short term bonds is a better approach in light of the current state of the economy and the uncertainties with level of state funding for next year’s budget.
From last night, here’s video footage of the Board of Selectmen meeting.
Residents of Bethel are frustrated with the amount of time it has taken for the local government to address the road repair problem…and rightfully so. Accusations of obstruction and dirty politics have been tossed around (which is par for the course in Bethel). Whether the accusations are warranted or over the top is irrelevant…what’s relevant is that the roads in the town are an embarrassment. Hopefully, with yesterday’s vote, the residents of Bethel are one step closer to having at least a portion of the town’s roads repaved.