Fiscal conservatism consists of using intelligent financial management, not a chain saw.
Our Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance have failed the citizens of Bethel. Early on in the budget process, they could have acknowledged this looming budget issue. They failed to anticipate it, failed to manage it and failed to communicate it.
They could have communicated that there was an issue that probably would result in a higher budget this year but, more importantly, communicated what they were doing to control the costs going forward. This would have been more prudent and less divisive than their actions to date.
The BOF failed to offer any constructive input as to how to control these costs. The chairman of the BOF acknowledged spending "one hour" with the chairman of the BOE and the school finance director. One hour for a million-dollar issue?
The BOF has left the BOE with less money than needed to cover the medical insurance issue and contractual requirements. The BOE is being asked to fire employees to fund insurance and contractual requirements. Is that the action of a reasonable BOF?
The unreasonableness is more apparent when you consider that nothing has been cut on the municipal side of the budget. Several years ago, when the pension costs increased by more than 100 percent, did the taxpayers ask the town to fire employees to fund their own pension? Check the records, you will find that we didn't.
Parents of school-aged children should be very concerned about the future quality of their children's education should this budget pass on Tuesday, June 21. Personally, I will vote NO, TOO LOW.