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Editorial: Start the debate today

It’s hard to entertain talk of shuttering the town’s golf course when just 18 months ago a debate was raging about buying another one. But the reality is making up the Selkirk Cogen money through taxes would mean a 23 percent tax hike and still leave the town with a deficit.

The other option is cuts. But as we’ve heard time and time again from members of the Town Board, the easy belt tightening has long since been done. This year, new holes are going to have to be punched in that belt.

If you’re a resident of Bethlehem and even mildly concerned about your town services — whether that’s police patrols, highway maintenance, senior transportation, recreation or even your sewer line — we implore you to speak up now because the writing is on the wall. Contact your representatives and let them know what is important to you and what you’re willing to pay for it. And we likewise advise those representatives to actively listen.

The time to have these conversations is now. Not when the supervisor’s budget is released. Not the night of the budget vote.

Talking about really tough choices and coming up with creative solutions takes time, so the Town of Bethlehem should endeavor to get started on the right foot if it wants to remain standing come 2013.

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