23 Aug 2014
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Letter To The Editor: Old Town Hall Public Hearing

Billy Michael writes about tomorrow's public hearing

Letter To The Editor: Old Town Hall Public Hearing

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   

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