Panel to set sewer rates, discuss change in recreation

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JAY – Selectmen will hold a public hearing today prior to setting the sewer rates for fiscal year 2007-08. Sewer Department Superintendent Mark Holt is proposing a sewer rate increase of $35, from $195 per family unit annually to $230 per unit.

The board will also consider a change in the summer recreation program that would have Jay’s children attend the Livermore Falls program, which is a longer program and is expected to result in more than a 50 percent savings to the town.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. today at the Jay-Niles Memorial Library on Route 4 in North Jay.

Holt said Tuesday he is proposing a $707,500 sewer budget for the 2007-08 year, up $3,602 from the existing budget.

His recommendation of higher sewer fees for the 1,164 units in the town would increase the anticipated revenue from this year’s $228,540 to $267,720, if selectmen approve his proposal, Holt said.

That would decrease the amount of townwide taxation used to offset the budget from $475,448 to $439,780, which factors in the increased revenues.

An opinion poll on town and school services sent out to taxpayers found 110 people wanting the user fee increased to pay the total sewer budget, while 79 people wanted user fees to stay the same and the balance raised from taxation and 45 people wanted the user fee increased and the balance to come from taxation.

“I would like to see a good turnout,” Town Manager Ruth Marden said Tuesday on the public hearing on sewer rates. She needs to know what the rate will be to put together the budget.

Marden said a recommendation to send Jay’s children to the Livermore Falls summer recreation program would cost the town about $16,000 compared to $34,000-plus for last year’s Jay program.

Last year, 93 Jay students attended the town program, she said.

She based her proposal for the fiscal 2007-08 on 120 Jay students participating in Livermore Falls six-week program at $100 for each child, Marden said. The town would bus Jay’s children to Livermore Falls High School where the program is based, she said.

“It’s a much longer program for certain age group and quite a savings to Jay,” Marden said.

Jay’s existing program is for four weeks and serves children in first through sixth grade. Livermore Falls programs is two weeks longer and serves children in grades kindergarten to eighth grade.

Livermore Falls Town Manager Martin Puckett said that he has discussed Marden’s proposal with Livermore Falls selectmen and the consensus was to move forward with it.

The Livermore Falls program had about 170 students from Livermore and Livermore Falls and a few children from outside of SAD 36. The program has had more than 200 students in past years, Puckett said.

Last year’s Livermore Falls recreation program budget was about $29,000.

The fee structure is $30 for a child from Livermore Falls, $60 for a child from Livermore and $100 for a child not in the school district, Puckett said.

“The board and I were excited to see a collaborative effort between the two towns starting with the children,” Puckett said.

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