We believe in family, community, and regional tourism.
We believe in current and future business growth, as well as, accentuating activities which encourage tourism growth, to ensure Bethlehem’s future is sustainable.
We believe in protecting, preserving, and enhancing Bethlehem’s history, beauty, and ecosystems, as well as, current and future business opportunities.
BIB believes in developing a healthy balance between people, business, and tourism of all types, to create a sustainable future for Bethlehem.
Getting the word out about what Believe in Bethlehem (BiB) is about and what we are trying to accomplish is difficult at best. But when newspaper articles and opponents relay misinformation it becomes even more difficult. BiB has been accused of being funded by Casella. This is not at all accurate. BiB is a concerned citizens group that has accepted donations from North Country Environmental Services (NCES) along with sizeable donations from private citizens. NCES has been just one donor.
The Caledonian Record has stated that BiB “mustered 250 signatures for the warrant articles.” This suggests that we had some difficulty when in fact, our signature drive was a limited time event. If we had continued the effort the number of signatures would have been much higher. When was the last time you saw so many signatures on a warrant article in Bethlehem even without this limited effort?
So many people have had a significant property tax increase with the prospect of another increase next year. This is the reason BiB feels it is imperative to stabilize the tax rate. These tax increases are not sustainable and merely reciting the platitude that, “things will get better someday,” does not actually bring about that result. Many people had misinformation about what they were voting on last March. The slogan, “Go Slow, Get a Better Deal,” resonated since most people see any large corporation as having such deep pockets that they can pay any amount. In truth, corporations function no differently than we do with our finances. They can’t spend more than they bring in. The promise of a better deal was completely disingenuous. The opponents of NCES had absolutely no intent to renegotiate the deal.
NCES has been a great business partner for Bethlehem. In addition to taxes, host community fees, a free transfer station, and free trash pick-up, NCES has made significant donations to the community. They have donated to Profile High School, Copper Cannon, Emergency Services, Senior Softball and the Bethlehem Playground. No one has suggested that these donations be refused or that the organizations that have accepted them have sold out the environment. In fact, NCES has taken significant steps to protect the environment in Bethlehem. It just makes good business sense for them to do so. And we are seeing the results. As an example, the Ammonoosuc River has seen an increase in baby brook trout, indicating that the river is clean and healthy. The river is downstream from NCES which demonstrates that the landfill is in no way having a negative impact on the river. The water is as clean as ever. This isn’t a coincidence. This is the result of the environmental stewardship that NCES has taken.
Simply put, BiB’s focus is on making Bethlehem as great a place to live as possible. Part of achieving this goal is to protect the financial health of the town. Other groups want to replace NCES with a different tax base, but they have not made any progress on this front. The reality is that the future of NCES is the future of Bethlehem.
Hopefully the media and the naysayers will appreciate the facts so the voters can make an informed decision in March and make Bethlehem a strong town moving into the future.