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Speak Out

The place to speak your mind on everything from politics to potholes.

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Carol Mayne July 17, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Meadow was found by a couple walking in Bethel on Taylor St. Thank you, but Rascal is still missing Read Moreand may be looking for his buddy. Please call if seen.
Eric T Gray July 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Why did the BOF choose to cut funds from the road maintenance line item? I don't agree with taking Read Morefrom the town surplus, but I also don't agree with cutting from the road maintenance. Even the people who have been voting yes all along have got to question 'why the road maintnenance account'. They've got 175K budgeted for overtime and 295K in salary adjustments. Makes common sense to start there to me.
Barbara Nelson July 17, 2014 at 03:15 PM
Why was Brookfield upgraded to a AAA bond rating last year with a 9.1% surplus, and able toRead Moremaintain with their current 6% surplus? This is all about preserving the ability to build a brand new police station and not about using the surplus. If this budget is rejected for the 4th time, the Town will cut jobs and hours rather than take a small amount from their beloved fund.
Dan Gaita July 17, 2014 at 01:55 PM
I think this is a great development since it demonstrates absolute transparency and a clearRead Moreundersta nding of where the First Selectman is on a multitude of issues. This is the evolution of leadership that serves to cut right through the heart of misinformation campaigns. It is kind of hard to spread a lie when it can be dealt with the moment it surfaces. That, my friends, is the power of social media. Why wait for the next public meeting to address the Town when you can communicate with them in real-time without anything being taken out of context or twisted. Ironically, it is the same group of people that once cried about lack of transparency who are now crying about to much communication. Goes to show you, in politics, especially here in Bethel you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I personally appreciate having an elected leader that speaks to his residents and keeps them informed of his position. Thanks Matt, keep it up and keep us informed. Respectfully,
Matt Wallace July 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM
I'm confused why this is on the front page spread...?
Dan Gaita July 17, 2014 at 04:24 PM
The title
summer July 16, 2014 at 09:34 AM
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said that the tax increase only amounts to $10 more per monthRead Morefor most people. Most older citizens can not afford $10 more. Matt how about the money that was found by the outside source $50,000 emptys alot of trash cans. He also said that there’s no more grant money available to “pretty up the streets,” and that Bethel doesn’t even have the resources to empty the trash cans on Greenwood Avenue! Matt you just reported in the News Times about the grant for street scape. Why does Bethel pay its town crew? Picking up trash should be the responsibilty of the town crew.
Ludwig Geist July 13, 2014 at 01:59 PM
The use of the reserve fund, as being discussed, seems very fiscally short-sighted to me. Certainly Read Moresaving the money for capital needs (unforeseen or otherwise) or for addressing debt service (a.k.a. paying down debt to save tax dollars) seems to make the most sense to me. But, perhaps that is just being too fiscally responsible in these times of plenty. In my opinion, there are so many questions to ask about whether or not this is a wise choice. Are taxpayers hurting financially? I'm quite certain many are; have you talked with your neighbors lately? Will next year be better for everyone? I tend to doubt it. Will taxpayers need or want tax "relief" next year? Quite likely, but will they get it? How long did it take to accumulate such an impressive reserve fund of taxpayer dollars that is (to someone's credit, but unfortunately) over the required minimum amount? How long will it take to build it back up at a time of likely decreasing or stagnant tax receipts? Is this money burning a hole in someone's pocket for some reason? Were promises of raises, promotions, salary adjustments, and new jobs made and now it's time to pony up? Is there any way we can just pass this dang budget, just this "once", p-l-e-a-s-e, without anyone (i.e. taxpayers) feeling the pain? If we could just get this approved, we really, really, r-e-a-l-l-y promise that next year we will r-e-a-l-l-y put our nose to the grindstone and come up with the all cost savings that you all rightly deserve as our valued tax payers. If all else fails, the new administration can blame the old administration, when they come into power next time around, for their predecessors' poor fiscal planning skills. Maybe a little budget pain now is better than a whole lot of budget hurt later. If you had the choice of getting no raise but had some reasonable assurance that you'd have your job next year, would you make that choice? Would you rather hold out for more money and take your chances that you won't need to look for another job in the next 12 months? Many workers in the private sector have had to make this choice. Have you? Lastly, do I feel guilty that the town will have spent (as we keep getting reminded) upwards of 50K dollars on referenda? No, not one bit. In my opinion, it's a reflection of town officials being out of touch with what the voters are expecting from their local government. Hopefully, the budget will be reduced by another 40K dollars to make up for all the past foolishness. It's time to start saving some taxpayer money. Vote.
Bill Generous July 13, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Rating agencies prefer a Fund Balance of 15% to 20% nowadays, especially as many CT towns have notRead Morea dequately prefunded anything for future retiree medical costs. If a big chunk of the Fund Balance was used, then there would be a revenue hole for next budget season. It would be far better to reduce operational expenses, if the objective is to lower the mill rate. Leave the Fund Balance for reserves and for capital expenses if it gets high enough.
summer July 15, 2014 at 08:06 AM
We have already lost track of the money found by the outside source? The newstimes article how town Read Morewas cut check for $50,000 and outside source kept $50,000 . Time to ask BoF and Comptroler about tis as well.
Bill Hillman July 11, 2014 at 12:36 AM
THANK YOU Mr. Kingston!Read Morehttp://www.bethel-ct.gov/filestorage/1190/83/9055/9109/2014-07-14a_sp_mtg.pd f
Diana Carlino July 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Taking money from the fund balance may have a detrimental effect on the town's ability to fundRead Morefutur e projects. The Town's Comptroller (a non-partisan town employee) weighed in on this issue as well. Read his comments here: http://www.betheldemocrats.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Comptroller.pdf
Matt Paulsen July 11, 2014 at 04:45 PM
A "non-partisan town employee" commenting on the Bethel Democrats website. HA!
Diana Carlino July 11, 2014 at 05:47 PM
Mr. Paulsen, to my knowledge, the the Comptroller is not affiliated with either party. The BDTC is Read Moreconcerned that the budget will not pass due to the spread of false information. Therefore, we have reached out to the Comptroller to request his comments and feedback on the matter of the fund balance, to ensure that voters are able to consider the FACTS and not political-fodder.
Bill Hillman July 12, 2014 at 12:09 AM
The Republican Comptroller told me by phone that the BOF could set a mill rate that assumes aRead Moredefici ancy (defunding a capital item) that would then be covered by the fund balance, This is a backdoor way to satisfy the credit agencies that the balance be drawn for capital items. It's a FACT that he explained that to me.
Will July 16, 2014 at 09:26 AM
Bill, moving your house to Greenwich increases your property tax because the intrinsic value of you Read Morehome just went up due to the fact that you are now only 30 miles from the business epicenter of the world. Thus, your earnings potential has greatly increased and you have far greater financial opportunity than living up in Bethel.
summer July 16, 2014 at 09:49 AM
Taxes have much to do with stores in Bethel. The Bethel Chamber of Commmerce and Town Hall shouldRead Morelo ok to others for advice. They do not promote or advertise events in town. Smart people will not invest business capital in Bethel. I for one will not invest time or money in Bethel. Ridgefield and Waterbury Yes. I am now looking to invest money in New York City,Hartford and Rhode Island.
Bill Generous July 16, 2014 at 11:32 AM
Will, my point is that neither the mill rate nor the equalized mill rate by itself says that muchRead Moreab out home taxes or home tax burdens when comparing one town to other towns. I understand why properties in Greenwich cost more than most other towns in CT.
David Drazul June 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM
A more extensive list (along with pictures) can be found at:Read Morewww.invasive.org/species/list.cfm?id=66 My yard has a problem with Japanese Barberry, Garlic Mustard, and Burning Bushes. The garlic mustard is around only in the spring and then it goes dormant in June, retreating underground. In my yard, deer have eaten burning bush seedlings and new green shoots from a mature plant but leave the mature growth alone. When my wife and I bought our house 15 years ago, vines were a problem. For those of you who haven't tried removing mature vines that are smothering a tree because it looks like a formidable task, there is a simpler method but it requires time and patience. Take a pair of pruners and cut an inch chunk out of the vine near the ground. Make sure you get all of them. Cut off from its roots, the leaves and runners will eventually dry out and die. Re-visit the vine monthly to test its resilience. After a few months you should be able to pull it down as the dead vine no longer has a grip on the tree. You will have to keep an eye on new shoots from the vine growing up from the ground, but these will be green and easy to cut by hand. Eventually the vine starves and dies. But watch out for poison ivy! It's vines are easy to identify as they have a "hairy" appearance. For the record, I'm just a homeowner, not a professional. My technique is something I've developed on my own and thought worth sharing. Your experience may differ.
Don Warfield June 30, 2014 at 06:19 AM
David, It is too bad we can't convince groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks or beavers to eat theRead Moremature bittersweet vines :-) As you pointed out, invasive removal require time and patience. I have embarked on a multiyear plan to remove the Japanese Barberry and bittersweet vines from Mike's Pond, a Bethel Land Trust preserve. I don't know who will win in the end but tis a nice challenge.
David Drazul July 06, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Good luck with the pond clean up, Don! Yes, it would be a whole lot easier if those critters wouldRead Moreh elp out. Unfortunately, none of them have developed a taste for it.
Bill Hillman June 19, 2014 at 09:28 AM
1-3 Municipality Requirements Assign a municipal employee to administer, be responsible for, andRead Morei n charge of the project at all times. This individual will be the Municipal Administrator for the project. He/she must be thoroughly knowledgeable of the day-to-day operations of both the contractors and the inspection services. Although this person does not need to be exclusively assigned to that project, this employee must: • Be aware of the day-to-day operations of the project. • Be aware of and involved in decisions relative to changed conditions, which require construction orders or supplemental agreements. • Visit the project, as needed, commensurate with the magnitude and complexity of the project and project activity. • At all stages of the project, be responsible and in charge of the consultant/inspection staff. • Attend all project meetings as warranted/requested. • Review the project volumes for accuracy and compliance with Department and Federal requirements. • Meet monthly with the MSAT Leader to review the project records and discuss any issues with regard to project status or construction that require attention. Submit the names and qualifications of all administration/inspection personnel to be utilized on the project to the District’s MSAT Leader for approval (if approval is not done during the design phase). Submit alternates if inspector is to be absent at any time during the duration of project. • Projects under $150,000 construction contract value shall require inspection of only critical items to be determined prior to construction. • Projects over $150,000 construction contract value usually require full-time inspection, but it will be at the discretion of the District MSAT Leader if full-time or part-time inspection is required, whether inspection is done by the Municipality or Consultant. If consultant inspection is to be utilized on the project, prior approval of all consultant personnel who will be charging time to the project must be done by the Municipality and Department. Pay rates for all consultant personnel must also be approved prior to working on the project. If not submitted prior to the award of the contract, provide the Department with five (5) copies of the contract/specification and plans at that time, to be distributed to: • The Office of Construction • The Division of Materials Testing – Rocky Hill Lab • The District overseeing the project • The Unit initiating the project • The District’s Materials Testing Lab Meet with the District’s MSAT Leader prior to the preconstruction meeting to go over a Department checklist, consisting of the Municipality’s responsibilities in providing administrative and inspection services, the Department’s recordkeeping requirements, subcontractor approvals, testing of materials procedures, the initiation and processing of the Construction Orders, invoicing (ISP), and their responsibilities in the closing out of the project.
Cathy McCullen June 21, 2014 at 10:51 PM
I thank you Mr Hilman for providing yet more evidence of who was responsible for this project andRead Moreal l its delays. As this project has lingered to completion more and more people have come to realize that the first Selectman has been lying to us since the project began to unravel. Watching Matt Knickerbocker implode and become undone has become a sad spectacle l for the town of Bethel to watch. After he tried to sneak in a 6 percent raise for him self after the past 2 years of repeated failures only confirms the belief held by many of his greed and deceitfulness. And now seeing in more proof of his dishonesty it has become so apparent that the Democrats will have to run some one else for First Selectman if they want to retain the position in the nest municipal election
craig yuen June 25, 2014 at 04:20 PM
has there been any official word from the first selectman's office ?
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