BETHEL – Due to changes in Federal Aviation Administration requirements for accepting grants, Bethel will convene a special town meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, in the town office.

Warrant articles ask voters to authorize selectmen or airport manager Scott Cole to execute necessary grant agreements with the FAA and Maine Department of Transportation to update the airport’s master plan, and to accept $144,000 in federal reimbursement grant money for the project.

Normally, Bethel would vote the articles at town meeting in June, but because the FAA accelerated its schedule for issuing grants, the town needs to act on it immediately if it wants to move forward on the project this year, Cole, who is also town manager, said Friday afternoon.

The master plan is a 10-year document in which, proposed capital improvement projects are determined and listed. Bethel Regional Airport’s last such plan was created in 1998.

Realizing that the plan needs to be updated, Bethel submitted an application for $144,000 in master plan funding, of which 95 percent will be paid by the FAA and 2-percent each by both Bethel and Maine, Cole said.

The town anticipates that a grant offer will be received on or about Friday, Feb. 20.

Cole said there will be a significant amount of public processes, including a number of hearings as selectmen and the Bethel Airport Authority seek input about what townspeople would like to see in continued capital expansion projects.

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