BETHEL — Residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of several municipal budget items at Wednesday evening’s annual town meeting at Crescent Park School.

As of 8 p.m., residents were still making their way through the 38-article warrant.

The proposed 2015-16 municipal budget is $3.7 million, an increase over last year’s $3.4 million.

Among the articles approved were $241,496, for the Ambulance Service, $16,658 more than the previous year.

Resident Jane Ryerson told selectmen, “I’m not trying to knock the ambulance around here, because I think they’re the best bang for our buck, but I’m curious as to why this year’s Ambulance Service budget is so much higher than last year’s.”

Town Manager Christine Landes said that overtime wages had been increased for employees who worked on Christmas and Thanksgiving, and that medical expenses had been increased.


Fire Chief Mike Jodrey said new jackets were purchased for the 30 employees who worked in the Ambulance Service department.

When Ryerson asked if the jackets were a necessary addition to the budget, Bethel Ambulance Service volunteer David Hanscom said the current jackets were 15 years old and not compliant with regulations.

“Next year, the budget will be much lower, because the money for the jackets won’t be a reoccurring thing,” Hanscom said.

Residents also approved amendments to the Administration, Building Construction, Shoreland Zoning, Sign and Subdivision ordinances.

They overwhelmingly voted to reject proposed amendments to the Site Plan Ordinance.

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