Jay board limits employees to one loan from retirement accounts

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JAY — Selectmen voted Monday to reduce the number of loans employees can borrow from their retirement accounts from five to one as of July 1.

The International City Management Association Retirement Corp. has three different options for borrowing money from retirement accounts, Town Manager Ruth Cushman said. One is five loans, another is one loan and the last is no loans, she said.

“I found out that very few towns give out more than one loan,” Cushman said.

If someone has a loan out and either leaves employment of the town or gets sick, that person has 90 days to repay the loan, Board of Selectmen Chairman Steve McCourt said.

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If someone does default, it could endanger the whole program, Cushman said.

It is also more likely for someone with five loans to default than someone with one loan, she said.

Lowering it to one minimizes the risk of default, she said.

Selectmen agreed with allowing one loan.

In other business, resident Justin Merrill asked about the hydrants that are out of order. There are three in town, at least two of them on Route 140 and Route 17 have black trash bags over them, he said.

“We pay all this money to rent these fire hydrants,” Merrill said, and some are not working.

The town pays more than $200,000 annually to lease the hydrants from the water districts that serve townspeople. The Maine Public Utilities Commission requires the districts to maintain the hydrants, Cushman said, when asked.

McCourt asked that any resident who knows of a fire hydrant that is out of order to report it to the town office.

“We do pay rent to them. We pay good money,” McCourt said.

Cushman said she would check into the matter.

In other business, Mary Howes, who with her husband, Tim DeMillo, owns Otis Ventures LLC, said they have developed a plan for electricity at the Otis Falls Mill, formerly Wausau Mill. The couple bought the defunct mill in October 2009. It calls for eliminating the substation on the mill property.

That substation provided electricity via a power line across the Androscoggin River to Spruce Mountain Ski Slope in Jay. The cost of keeping the substation at the mill was prohibitive, Howes said last year.

Central Maine Power Co. waived the transformer fee last year to allow Spruce Mountain to continue operations. It gave Otis Ventures until May to figure out what it planned to do about electricity for the mill.

“There is nothing we can do to ease (Spruce Mountain Ski Club’s) power issues,” Howes said. She has told Spruce representatives that several times, she said.

Neither Otis Ventures nor others want the liability of the electrical line going across the river, she said.

Cushman said she spoke with a Livermore town official and was told that Spruce representatives are looking at other options.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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