JAY — Selectpersons voted 3-1 Monday to apply a special tax of $31,475 to two Route 17 properties and to have it split based on valuation to cover the town’s cost to clean up the properties.
The town spent $15,000 to have so-called junk removed from the property of the heirs of the estate of Leroy Pollis, and Darren Pollis’ adjacent property in North Jay. The legal costs were $16,475, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere told the board.
Selectperson Steve McCourt opposed the vote while Chairman Justin Merrill, Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo and Selectperson Terry Bergeron were in favor.
The town was granted a court order in January to clean up the properties and the right to recover expenses. The town has tried for 16 years to get the properties in compliance with the state’s junkyard and auto graveyard laws, LaFreniere previously said.
The cleanup was conducted in June.
Selectperson Terry Bergeron said the way he understands it, it basically comes down to a judge saying the town can pass on all costs to the property owners.
The costs would be split between the two properties, LaFreniere said.
Resident Clinton Coolidge Sr. asked if the town had a detailed list of what was taken.
LaFreniere said “no.”
“I would think if the project wasn’t complete, you wouldn’t pay the full amount,” Coolidge said.
Darren Pollis said the town didn’t take some items such as a collapsed mobile home and burn piles from the family’s property, and took items that were not supposed to be taken such as ATVs and snowmobiles, skidder tires and a welder among other items. He also claims that nine vehicles were crushed that didn’t have titles, which is against the law, Pollis said.
The town is paying for vehicles that were crushed illegally, he said.
“I think that the board has decided the contract was fulfilled,” LaFreniere said.
She was hesitant on what she could say because the cleanup matter is still under legal review.
The town has offered to go back on the property and to take a collapsed mobile home that was supposed to be removed, according to a letter the town’s attorney sent to the Pollis family. The Pollises have until the end of the month to make a decision.
The letter was not signed by the whole board, McCourt said.
Pollis said he is not happy with the way the properties were left. There is glass and tires everywhere, and there is gas and oil everywhere, he said.
“When you rip up a vehicle and nobody takes the fluids out of it, where do you suppose it goes?” he said.
The town is in the process of having affidavits filed with the court to recover the costs associated with the cleanup, LaFreniere said.
The special tax can either be assessed by valuation of the properties or just be split up, Merrill said.
Bergeron said that according to everything he has seen in the documents related to the case, it has to be done by valuation.
“I’m fine with that,” Merrill said.