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Bethlehem adopts budget

Indeed, several board members referred to the budget as a living document that will have to be monitored, especially with an uncertain economy and sales tax revenues.

"This budget, I think, is cautiously optimistic," Councilwoman Joann Dawson said. "There are a number of things we'll have to watch closely."

In a particularly difficult agreement, the budget ended up including a 1 percent raise for town employees (police department personnel will get a contractual 2.5 percent bump) but did away with the "step" pay increases for years on the job. Coming to that agreement took a great amount of discussion, leaders said.

Councilman Mark Jordan called the finished product "fair" and "responsible."

"No budget is all things to all things to all people, and this is truly a compromise budget," he said.

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