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Bethlehem talks turkey, few cuts appeal

Attrition said to be key to balancing budget while keeping services

— The Town Board for the past few years has trimmed the list of dues paid to professional organizations and the like for employees or the town as a whole. In 2010 the town paid $16,413 towards dues, this year it expended $13,135. Under a new dues structure approved with the policy, it would pay $11,235 next year.

The policy should make the process less hands on in the future by setting criteria for any new memberships — the board spent weeks in 2011 batting cuts to the list back and forth.

“There has never been a policy of how to address this, it’s simply been at the board’s discretion,” Clarkson said.

Department heads identified the most recent round of subtractions while the policy was being researched. Notable among them was the town’s membership in the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and numerous judicial or law enforcement-related organizations.

“Sixteen or 18 years ago this was still a topic, and this is the most complete list of memberships I’ve ever seen,” remarked Councilman George Lenhardt.

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