BETHEL – Although Bethel’s town meeting starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Crescent Park School, Primary Day voters on Tuesday chose their municipal officers.

Those elected were Incumbent Selectmen Jack Cross with 358 votes and Dennis Doyon with 330 votes, and, for two open tax assessor spots, Donald Bennett got 358 votes and Robert Blake got 318 votes. All ran unopposed.

In the only contested race, Roberta Taylor and Carol Everett won two SAD 44 School Board seats. Taylor tallied 276 votes, Everett got 258 votes, and Peter Hedden got 172 votes.

By 11 p.m., according to ballot results from three of five towns, SAD 44’s $10.25 million budget for 2008-09 was likely approved. The total vote from Bethel, Greenwood and Newry combined was 412 yes, 170 no. Andover and Woodstock had yet to phone in results.

The budget was previously approved last week.

Results phone in Tuesday night, were:

Bethel – 318 yes, 122 no.

Greenwood – 59 yes, 26 no.

Newry – 35 yes, 28 no.

The $10,253,190 budget is up $254,229 over this year’s $9,998,961.

According to SAD 44 Superintendent David Murphy, the 2.5-percent increase was due to getting $200,000 less in state aid this year; absorbing more than $180,000 in new costs for the Region 9 School of Applied Technology addition project approved last year; and skyrocketing costs of diesel fuel and heating oil.

An additional factor was negotiated increases in salaries and benefits for all employee groups due to collective bargaining agreements.

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