Subject: Fw: Bethel Public Hearing
From Billy Michael
Good Morning on the first day of Spring
Bethel Action Committee believes that the rescheduled "Public Hearing " is a power point presentation to justify a vote to demolish the building that has already been taken. The March 7 News Times story is proof that the Public Hearing scheduled for Wed Mar. 21 is just a formality to give the illusion of government by consent of the people.
Mr. Knickerbocker made it clear that they have already decided regardless of what the public hearing may reveal. This administration revealed the same disregard for the citizenry when the fees for the recycle center were raised without a public hearing and the Selectmen scheduled a public hearing after the fees were already raised to comply with the Town Charter.
In Town Meeting form of government elected officials should hold public hearings that measure public sentiment before they act instead of after the fact. How can they pretend to serve the public without consulting the public?
The Dec. 2000 Town Meeting/Referendum on the Library Renovation guaranteed that the Old Town Hall would remain and that parking to comply with zoning regulations would be found nearby off site.Does the $70,000 "Handicap Ramp to Nowhere" come to mind? That ramp on the west side of the Municipal Center was supposed to be the beginning of additional municipal parking.
The municipal center has two handicap ramps neither of which are easily accessable by someone confined to wheelchair. Westside municipal parking would justify the expense of a ramp that is yet to be truly utilized. Finally if the Bd of Selectmen wants to reverse the will of the Dec 2000 town meeting they need to call for a town meeting to do so. It cannot be reversed by a vote of three temporary elected officials.The old town hall is a permanent structure and asset of the town; the demolition which deserves the involvement of the widest number of citizens possible.
In December of 2010 Mr. Knickerbocker was passionate about referring his multi-million dollar road plan to voters at referendum vote; we hope he will be equally passionate about referring this issue to Bethel voters as well.
The Annual Budget Referendum in May would be a logical place to weigh public sentiment on this very contentious issue