BETHEL — In a little under an hour, voters approved the town budget for fiscal 2023 and all warrant articles during last week’s annual town meeting.

According to Town Manager Loretta Powers, just over 40 people attended the meeting and there was very little conversation as the articles were approved.

The final budget, as approved, represents a 6.4% percent increase over fiscal 2022, at $4,993,284.

At the meeting, held on June 15 at Crescent Park Elementary School, voters considered 42 warrant articles ranging from 4% raises for municipal employees to capital improvement projects in the coming year.

As part of its budget calculations, the town estimates non-property tax revenue at $1,646,138 for fiscal 2023, which is $170,376 more than last year. The increases are expected to come from increased auto excise taxes, increased plumbing and building permits, increased sewer and airport service fees, transfer station fees.

The largest increase is expected in solid waste service fees, up to $204,000 from $170,000 last year.


The fees for marijuana business licenses is estimated to more than double in the coming year, from $2,000 last year to $5,000 in fiscal 23.

And, state revenue sharing is expected to double in the coming year, from $100,000 to $200,000.

In terms of spending, slight increases are estimated in the departments of the town clerk, assessors, finance, and planning. The estimated cost for the administration department will decrease about $4,000.

The cost for police services, contracted through the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, is estimated to rise $11,698, to $392,958.

Fire Department costs are estimated to rise about $4,000, to $265,716, and costs for operation of the ambulance service will rise $29,338, to $355,919.

The cost to operate the municipal solid waste management program is estimated to rise $115,780, to $672,877, and the cost to operate the public works department will rise $30,230, to $646,138.


Voters approved raising the amount allocated for General Assistance to $3,000 from $2,500, and approved raising the recreation department’s budget by $8,100, to $59,900.

Most of the levels for local donations will remain the same, including $19,500 for the Bethel Library, and voters approved a new request for a $1,000 donation to Hailey’s Hugs Go Gold.

Contribution levels for Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice, Seniors Plus and Community Concepts remained level, and voters approved increasing the donation to the Rape Education and Crisis Hotline $400, to $1,000.

Voters also approved a $207,774 budget for the Bethel-Davis Regional Airport, and approved a request to spend $32,000 in Airport Rescue Grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for costs incurred by the airport for operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitation and janitorial services combating the spread of pathogens.

Voters approved funding for a number of capital improvement projects, including reserving $30,000 for future demolition of the vacant Ethel Bisbee School and $140,000 to purchase a new plow truck and wing for the Department of Public Works.

Finally, $401,000 was approved to repair and pave portions of the Flat Road, Smith Farm, Grover Hill, Intervale Road and Stevens Road.

Voters approved amendments to multiple ordinances, including site plan review, subdivisions, administration and wind energy, and adopted a new ordinance on solar energy systems.

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