Board discusses layoffs, receives quarry update

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JAY — The news that Verso Corp. will eliminate about 300 jobs at the Androscoggin Mill has certainly put the community on high alert, Selectboard Chairman Justin Merrill said at Monday night’s board meeting.

Town officials have already contacted the CareerCenter in Wilton.

The town will help these people and the community through the company’s downsizing, he said.

Verso announced Thursday that it will permanently eliminate about 300 positions and shut down a paper machine and a pulp dryer. The changes are expected to begin at the start of the fourth quarter later this year.

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Selectpersons had planned to set the town’s tax rate Monday but delayed it to crunch the financial numbers more.

A special board meeting will be called to set the rate, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said.

In another business matter, Kevin Jack, operations manager for Polycor’s business site off Old Jay Hill Road in North Jay, updated the board on its progress in developing the North Jay White Quarry and building a manufacturing plant to make granite curbing.

The plant will be 60 by 150 feet and 35 feet high, he said. It will be a prefabricated engineered building. There will be a 25- by 45-foot lean-to used as an office with a mezzanine above it.

The company, which is based in Quebec, Canada, plans to build a private road off Old Jay Hill Road. It will use a temporary access road until the road is built, Jack said.

According to information provided by the town to reporters, Polycor expects to invest $4 million in the project, which will create 20 direct jobs and 20 indirect jobs, and inject approximately $3 million per year into the local economy.

“Things are still moving ahead as expected,” Jack said.

The site plan is completed and the building has been ordered. The company is in the process of getting power to the building site, which is running off portable generators.

They are hoping to be in production by the end of December, Jack said.

“We are still looking for one quarry operator,” he said.

Applications are available at the CareerCenter in Wilton. They have also advertised in The Franklin Journal and the online news site, Daily Bulldog, he said.

He believes the starting wage is $13.74, increasing to $15.74. 

The company keeps the necessary blasting to a minimum and does it in the smallest blasts possible, Jack said. Since January, it has blasted three times and alerted the town beforehand each time. Town representatives have alerted the media to put out information about blasting.

Polycor has more than 300 employees in 25 sustainable quarries and five state-of-the-art plants, according to company information. It has operations in Quebec, Georgia and Virginia. The company serves a variety of markets with granite curbing, specifically in New England.

Polycor projects having $2.5 million in sales in 2016, $3.5 million in sales in 2017 and $4.5 million in sales from the Jay project in 2018.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Jay board accepting candidates names for RSU 73 seat

JAY — Anyone interested in serving on the Regional School Unit 73 board of directors to temporarily fill a seat is asked to submit their name and contact information to the Town Office by Sept. 10.

Director Tamara Hoke recently resigned from the board.

Selectpersons plan to appoint a resident Sept. 14, board Chairman Justin Merrill said Monday night. The person will serve until the 2016 annual election, he said. A one-year position will be up for election at that time.

Hoke was elected in June 2014 to a three-year term.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

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