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Bethlehem's vision is 20/20

They say hindsight is 20/20, but town officials here are hoping a little foresight will help shape Bethlehem's vision for the future.

A group of residents, professionals and town officials past and present, known as the 20/20 Committee, has been piecing together a sort of planning report on what can be expected by the year 2020.

Supervisor Jack Cunningham said the committee's name is a play on words, but the work it is conducting is a very serious look at how the town's aging infrastructure should be replaced and maintained over the next decade, what kind of development patterns can be expected and the overall fiscal future of the town.

One of the overall themes is to address the infrastructure, he said of the committee. "The name refers to having 20/20 [vision] in looking forward at our needs and the competing principles involved."

An update was given at a town board meeting Wednesday, May 13, by former town supervisor and co-chair of the committee Theresa Egan. Board members were told they can expect a final report sometime in the end of June.

The committee's final report will be used to help guide the town's future fiscal decisions.

Part of the committee's report will include a survey that was sent out to 1,500 town residents, out of which 22 percent, or roughly 322 people, responded. Cunningham said the survey asked for opinions on issues such as infrastructure needs and the costs associated, as well as the satisfaction of current town services. It also asked about residents' feelings on the consolidation and sharing of services and asked people to rate the town on various aspects.

The research institute conducting the survey told the board that the numbers could serve as a litmus test for residential opinion and could be sufficiently reliable to include in the 20/20 Committee's final report.

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