More than two-thirds of the package is geared toward education and schools.
By Donna M. Perry

JAY – Residents have a chance Monday to ask questions on a $16.5 million spending plan for municipal and school operations in 2004-05. More than two-thirds of the package is geared toward education and schools.

The public hearing is at 6 p.m. at the Jay Middle School cafeteria.

The proposal goes to voters Tuesday, April 20, during a referendum.

The municipal side of the spending proposal is $5.58 million, reflecting a $166,812 or 2.98 percent increase.

The school’s proposal is $10.95 million, a $687,943 or 6.70 percent increase. Of that amount $10.6 million is proposed to operate the education program, a 4 percent increase.

The remainder is in adult education and projects.

The net appropriation for education and town operations, after revenues are factored in, is $13.26 million, which is $801,568 more than the current year.

Townspeople will also consider adopting a development plan of the Androscoggin Valley Pine Tree Zone for properties at and near the vacant Ames building and a site on Route 4 in North Jay bordering Wilton.

Town Manager Ruth Marden said voter approval would give the town extra assistance to attract businesses and does not require the town to give a tax break to new businesses.

Townspeople will be looking at financing a new firetruck for up to $200,186. The Fire Rescue Department has $138,909 in reserve and is asking for another $50,000 in 2004-05 budget to cover the $389,095 pumper.

Another purchase voters will consider is 25 to 34 acres next to the North Jay Sewer Treatment Plant on Jerry Street. The cost is $10,000 and is already in a Sewer Department reserve account.

The land is needed because the state has tightened regulations, Sewer Superintendent Mark Holt said. Jay’s wastewater discharge license to Sevenmile Stream expires Dec. 8, 2005, he said, and Jay needs to find an alternate way to discharge treated wastewater during summer months to meet state regulations for license renewal.

One way would be to spray the treated and disinfected wastewater on a town field during the dry months. The cost, including land purchase and set up, is estimated about $20,000. The additional $10,000 is also in reserve.

Holt estimated alternative proposals would cost $75,000 to $150,000, not counting operating and maintenance costs.

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