$16.3M budget goes to voters

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JAY – Voters have a $16.3 million combined municipal, school and adult education budget to consider Monday during the day-long annual town meeting referendum.

Voters also have a contested selectman’s race and several other uncontested positions to fill as well as action on a changeable sign ordinance.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, April 24, at the Community Building.

The proposed municipal budget is $5.83 million, a 3 percent increase over this year’s budget, and includes money for town operations as well as $50,000 to be added to the building reserve for a new town office and police station, and $5,000 for a donation toward a pulp and paper museum.

The municipal package also includes $25,000 to do design and engineer work for a six-lot industrial park behind the Jay Plaza on town land in a state Pine Tree Zone to entice economic development.

Voters will also be asked to establish a changeable sign ordinance that would allow a sign message to scroll up and change every two seconds. The sign could also be fixed and not change.

Otis Federal Credit Union representatives asked the town to adopt an ordinance so they could change their sign along Route 4 more than once every 20 minutes as the law now allows. There are exemptions for time and weather.

The state Department of Transportation regulates changeable signs on highways, but the Legislature passed a law that went into effect last year that allows towns to enact a changeable sign ordinance.

The proposed $10.46 million school package reflects a $36,323 decrease from the existing budget. It also will require $307,702.49 less in local tax money than the existing budget.

The proposed budget calls for a reduction of three middle-school teachers, one high-school teacher and a half custodian position. Also, a kindergarten teacher would be changed to an early childhood teacher to teach 4-year-olds in a pre-kindergarten program at the elementary school.

The budget supports another music teacher, increasing elementary library hours by one a day, adding a technology repair technician and picking up the cost of an education technician who has been paid through federal funds.

The school system has at least 300 computers and is expecting to increase that by adding 170 laptops through a state buyout program.

Voters will also consider $91,760 for adult education.

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