Franklin Countys First News

Jay town meeting referendum is next Tuesday

Jay Highway Foreman John Johnson, far left, answers a question at a budget meeting in February.

JAY - Residents will elect municipal and school board officials and vote on a $6 million budget next Tuesday, as polls open for the annual town meeting referendum at the Community Building.

Polls will run from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25. Up for election are two selectperson seats and two seats on the RSU 73 school board. Two residents are running for the fourth selectperson seat, including incumbent Timothy DeMillo and Ricky Merrill, while three residents are running for the fifth selectperson seat, including incumbent Thomas Goding, Gary McGrane and Anthony Couture. Both RSU 73 school board seats are unopposed, with Dale LeBlanc and Robert Staples running for each position.

Positions on the Board of Trustees of both the Jay Village and North Jay water districts will be up for reelection, with incumbent Gerald Hutchinson running for his position on the Jay Village district board and incumbent Raymond Fleury II running for the North Jay district board.

As proposed, the $6 million in budgetary expenditures encompasses a $1,333,334 property tax settlement payment to Verso, relating to the mill's over payment of taxes in the years 2013-2015. To help accommodate this significant expansion of the town's debt service cost center, the Board of Selectpersons has proposed $582,082 in reductions to municipal expenditures.

Cuts in the articles approved by the selectpersons include the elimination of curbside pickup service, the loss of a position at the transfer station (with a probable reduction of transfer station hours of operation), reducing a full-time custodian/sexton/animal control officer down to a part-time custodian, reducing a full-time Jay Police Department detective position to a part-time position, a 10 percent cut from the Jay-Niles Memorial Library budget, cutting some $4,500 out of donation lines and another $1,000 out of General Assistance. Capital Reserve contributions were zeroed out town-wide, a number of supply lines were reduced, and money was pulled out of benefit lines. NorthStar EMS has provided the town with an end-of-year payment over the past two years, and town officials are proposing raising $37,500 in the next fiscal year, as opposed to the current $56,000.

Additionally, several items previously included in the budget would instead be covered through the town's recreation fund, which currently includes $176,543 in money generated through a cell tower lease and a timber harvest of town-owned property. The Spruce Mountain and Area Youth Sports insurances will be covered out of the Tower Fund, as they were last year, for $11,025 and $2,500, respectively. Additionally, the town's $12,000 share of the Livermore Falls-based Summer Recreation program will come out of this fund, as well as $2,000 for fireworks on July 4. Also included is a $4,655 appropriation to Spruce Mountain Ski Club to go toward the purchase of a wide-track snow machine capable of responding to emergencies. That expenditure is contingent on Livermore and Livermore Falls paying their share of the vehicle.

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