JAY — Selectpersons voted unanimously Tuesday to increase the tax rate by $1.50, making it $17.25 per $1,000 of property valuation for 2015-16.

That means owners of a house valued at $100,000, without factoring in exemptions, would see an increase of $150 on their tax bill. The bill, without exemptions, would be $1,725 compared to $1,575 last year, assessing agent Paul Binette said. 

The amount gives the town an estimated overlay of $94,436.07 to be used for any eligible abatements.

The higher tax rate follows the 2014-15 rate of $15.75, which was an increase of $1.75 from the 2013-14 rate.

Selectpersons opted not to take any money from the town’s undesignated fund to offset the higher tax rate. Last year, the board used $750,000 from the fund. 

Selectpersons reviewed eight rate options Binette provided to the board.

The lowest option was $17.15 and would have given the town an overlay of $11,704.86. The options increased by 5 cents to reach the highest option of $17.50. The latter would have given the town an overlay of $301,264.60, which was similar to last year’s amount. 

The town has $820.86 million of taxable valuation. Of that amount, $411.94 million is in real estate and $408.92 million is in personal property.   

The town’s assessments for the year are $938,282 for Franklin County taxes, $5.63 million for municipal appropriations, $8.97 million for local educational appropriations and $965,818 for the tax-increment financing plan the town has with Verso Corp. for Androscoggin Mill.

Allowable deductions for the town are $200,000 for state municipal revenue sharing and $1.17 million for other revenues, including excise tax revenue, bank interest and tree growth reimbursement. It does not include Homestead Exemption or Business Equipment Tax Exemption reimbursements.

That left the net amount to be raised by the local property tax at $15.14 million.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said she believes the Board of Selectpersons will be looking at ways to reduce the town budget next year.

Resident Cindy Bennett asked what would happen if the town did not pay the educational assessment or a lower amount.

Voters already approved the school budget in April, LaFreniere said.  

With the town having a decreased valuation because of a decrease in the value of Verso’s paper mill and associated equipment, the educational appropriation will go down in the future, Binette said.

Selectperson Terry Bergeron said he could neither go with the lowest option and have an $11,704.86 overlay nor could he go with the highest rate and have a $301,264 overlay. 

He motioned to go with a $17.25 tax rate.

Selectperson Tom Goding asked Binette if he was confident that rate would work.

“I think $17.50 is too high,” Binette said.

The board approved the $17.25 rate.

The town is still involved in Verso Androscoggin LLC’s challenge of its valuation for the 2013 tax year, which was originally $815.4 million, after allowable exemptions. The company requested an abatement to reduce the valuation to $460 million. Jay reduced the mill’s property valuation to $591.9 million in January and granted a tax abatement of $829,258. The company had paid $9 million in taxes after exemptions for 2013 and after the abatement the taxes were $8.18 million. The company has appealed the case to the state Board of Property Tax Review. It is expected to be heard late fall or early winter.

Selectpersons and the Jay Board of Assessment Review also denied Verso’s request this year for an abatement for the 2014 tax year. The town valued the company’s property at $592 million after factoring in exemptions. Verso believes the mill and property should be valued at no more than $400 million  for that year. The company had requested a reduction of at least $193.78 million in valuation for its mill and associated property. 

The town assessed the company $8.47 million in taxes for the 2014 tax year.

Verso had not appealed the 2014 case to the state board as of Monday.

The town’s taxable value of the mill’s property for this year is $572.76 million.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: