BETHEL — Voters at the annual town meeting Wednesday will decide on police coverage and whether the Bethel Regional Airport will be a town department.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Crescent Park School at 19 Crescent St.

There are three options for law enforcement services, Town Manager Sharon Jackson said Friday.

The first is for three Oxford County Sheriff’s deputies dedicated to coverage from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. to midnight seven days a week. If service is needed between midnight and 7 a.m., they would be on call from midnight to 3 a.m. The cost is $428,349.

The second option is for four deputies for coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The shifts would be 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., Chief Deputy James Urquhart said. The cost would be $573,450.

The contracts would be for one year.


A third option is to pay nothing and have county coverage with no dedicated deputies assigned.

Last year, voters approved $431,404 for Sheriff’s Office coverage.

Regarding the airport on North Street, a newly-worded town code would reclassify Bethel Regional Airport from an enterprise to a town department.

“This will allow the town to manage the financial and operational needs of the airport under the same guidance it manages other departments,” Jackson wrote in the annual town report.

Planes are parked Sept. 11, 2023, at the Bethel Regional Airport on North Street. Voters at Wednesday’s annual town meeting will decide whether the airport will become a town department. Town Manager Sharon Jackson said it would allow the town to manage the financial and operational needs of the airport under the same guidance it manages other departments. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen file

Voters will also decide on whether to hire a full-time Bethel Rescue chief and a part-time recreation director.

Others articles include an updated sign ordinance that would prohibit signs at Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street.


The proposed municipal budget for fiscal year 2025 is $5.91 million, an increase of $119,023 from the nearly $5.8 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Capital expenditures include $320,000 for roads; $219,000 for equipment and property maintenance; and $336,500 for reserve accounts.

This year, money articles will be capped instead of open-ended, meaning amounts can be decreased, but not increased.

The town’s assessment to Maine School Administrative District 44 is $4.33 million, an increase of $573,947 from this year’s $3.79 million, Jackson said.

The Oxford County assessment is $803,779, an increase of $221,910 from this year’s $581,869.

The total of the increases for municipal, school and county is $914,880, or 9.03%, over this fiscal year.

The 2023 Bethel Town Report, town meeting warrant and copies of ordinance changes are available at Town Office, 19 Main St., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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