Franklin Countys First News

Jay board sets property tax commitment, advances dog park

JAY - The Board of Selectpersons set the local property tax rate and sewer user rate Monday, later reconvening to move forward a public dog park concept.

Meeting mid-afternoon with the town's assessor, the board approved a mil rate of .01825, or $18.25 per $1,000 of property valuation. That rate is down $2 per $1,000 of valuation from the previous year's tax rate of $20.25 per $1,000. That rate would result in an overlay of $222,762 to be used for abatements.

The board also certified the sewer user rate commitment, mostly a formality after setting the rate back in May. The minimum fee was previously set at $315 for up to 3,200 cubic feet of water usage, plus an additional 9.5 cents per cubic foot of water beyond the minimum. That rate would cover roughly 93 percent of the operation and maintenance budget; Sewer Department Superintendent Mark Holt said Monday evening that the ongoing sewer project that will replace the North Jay plant will move that percentage to 100 percent within the next two years.

The commitment for sewer user rates was formally certified at $498,102 Monday afternoon.

Meeting later in the day as part of the board's regularly scheduled meeting, the board voted unanimously to have the town's attorney draw up a use agreement for a dog park behind the Jay Plaza, near the Andy Valley Snowmobile Club's access road. The fenced park would be 80 feet by 300 feet; entryways would have two gates to make runaways less likely.

The idea is being put forward by a Dog Park Association, which intends to fundraise to cover the cost of installing the fencing, as well as repaying the town for billable hours from its attorney. The association would be a nonprofit with a Board of Directors and would carry liability insurance that would name the town as an additional insured party. Another insured party would be Bob Bahre, who would be providing land for parking associated with the park.

The park's rules would include a ban on unaccompanied children under the age of 12, holding pet owners responsibility for cleaning up after their dogs, requiring dogs have current tags and limiting the number of dogs to two per person, among other regulations. Signage listing the rules would be present on the property, as well as contact information for association members.

The association intends to fundraise this year and open the park in the spring of 2020.

In other business, the board also hosted a brief special town meeting approving an additional $20,000 in Community Development Block funding through the Microenterprise Assistance grant program to benefit Barker Enterprise/Wood Pellet Warehouse. That $20,000 is in addition to the $60,000 that Wood Pallet Warehouse and Maine Dojo, LLC are applying for through the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Jay previously held a special town meeting to approve the submission of an application for the $60,000. The increase in the Wood Pellet Warehouse's application is due to the company agreeing to hire an additional employee, a requirement of the grant.

The board also approved expending $6,830 to purchase and set up a server for the Jay Police Department, utilizing the department's IT service provider, Expenet. Those funds will come out of the department's reserve - $1,000 had been set aside annually for that purpose, according to Police Chief Richard Caton IV. The server will replace five existing pieces of old equipment that are operated with Windows software that is no longer supported.

Another $12,000 was approved to be expended out of the joint reserve account overseen by the Jay and Livermore Falls boards for the Livermore Falls Sewer Treatment Plant to purchase a new grit screw that will be installed in the fall. The purchase was already approved in Livermore Falls, contingent upon Jay approval.

The board also approved the appointment of Mike Luce as lieutenant in the Jay Fire & Rescue Department. Luce had previously held that position, but had stepped down due to being busy with work, Chief Mike Booker said. He now could once again fill that position.

In other fire department-related business, the board voted 3 to 2 to remove language from the personnel policy that requires a pre-employment physical for firefighters. The provision had not been used in the past, although firefighters that use breathing apparatuses do undergo annual physicals. Selectpersons Judy Diaz and Gary McGrane were opposed to striking the language, with Diaz saying that the pre-employment physical could help eliminate potential workers compensation claims. Selectpersons Tom Goding, Tim DeMillo and Chair Terry Bergeron were in favor.

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