On Thursday, April 11th, Bethel voters went to the polls to vote on the Town Budget, the School Budget and a capital expenditure for repairs to the school heating and cooling system.
The $46.4 million School budget and $1 million Capital expense both passed, but the $32 million Town budget failed by a margin of 23 votes, 1,337 to 1,314 according to unofficial results released by Tim Beeble, registrar of voters. Voters approved the $46.4 million school budget by 143 votes, 1,396 to 1,252 and the $1 million capital budget by 523 votes, 1,580 to 1,057. 2,651 votes were cast, according to unofficial results, representing roughly 22% of registered voters in Town. Looked at another way, 23 voters, or 2 tenths of a percent of the register voters in Town determined the Town budget vote outcome.
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said "I'm deeply, deeply disappointed that the town side is going to be victimized."
Town Republican Committee Chair Bryan Terzian, also a member of the Town Board of Finance, said "I always respect the process. I would congratulate Dr. Carver and the School Board for putting together a budget that the Town felt was reasonable. On the Town side we have some work to do and hopefully we're able to do it in a bipartisan manner to get it to a number that works for everyone."
The Town Budget goes back to the Board of Finance for revisions, after which a Town Meeting will be scheduled and, if passed there, will move on to a Town Referendum vote.