BETHEL — Voters approved a $3.4 million municipal budget at Wednesday evening’s annual town meeting at Crescent Park Elementary School.

Nearly 60 residents voted on the 36-article warrant in just over an hour.

The $3.4 million budget is about $8,000 less than this fiscal year.

A majority of the articles were overwhelmingly approved, including Article 5 that asked voters to purchase a truck with plow gear and authorize officials to issue general obligation securities not to exceed $160,000.

Another was Article 6 that asked residents to authorize selectmen to enter into an agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation to construct a sidewalk beginning at or near the intersection of Main and Railroad streets, running along Main Street and ending at Main and Cross streets.

“As a walker in town, I think that this is the best idea ever,” Jean Bass said.


Several articles prompted questions.

Resident Rob Blake asked interim Town Manager Steve Eldridge why there was an increase of $24,384 in the Planning and Development Department.

“The increase in that particular line item comes from the Code Enforcement department switching from part time to full time,” Eldridge said.

Resident Jane Ryerson later asked why the Fountain, Park and Cemetery budget was cut by $2,915, “especially when the cemeteries are in such rough shape.”

Selectmen Chairman Stan Howe said when selectmen and the Budget Committee were attempting to figure out where to cut money, they all agreed that the Fountain, Park and Cemetery budget didn’t need the same amount as the previous year.

Ryerson attempted to amend the budget to the 2013-14 total and it was voted down.

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