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Bethel City Council passes two major budget items in their final meeting of July

Bethel City Hall
Olivia Ebertz
Once they’re settled back into city hall, the Bethel City Council will consider a resolution to stop allowing the public into meetings.

The Bethel City Council moved through a series of budget items in quick succession in their last meeting of the month. After a few amendments to the capital improvement plan and annual budget, the council passed both items unanimously.

One amendment reduced funding for a new fire training facility. The fire department had requested a new building with burn chambers and other updates that would allow firefighters to get hands-on experience. Because the facility is a regional training center, the council determined that there would be outside sources of funding beyond the city.

The council also reduced the amount of money going towards the feasibility study for a new gym, noting that there was already enough money appropriated and that adding another nearly $60,000 to the study wasn’t the best use of funds.

As a way to bolster their general fund, the council heard from the city finance director about his plans to more strictly enforce the sales tax and business license requirements. The finance director said that he had begun sending letters to businesses that weren't in compliance.

Beyond routine budget items, the council heard emotional testimony from a community member during the public comment portion of the meeting. Raymond Pete alleged that he hasn’t been allowed to board the city bus multiple times since January 2022. Pete said that he was filing a lawsuit against the city.

Will McCarthy is a temporary news reporter at KYUK. Previously, he worked as a furniture mover, producer, and freelance journalist. Will's written for the New York Times, National Geographic, and Texas Monthly. He holds a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.