JAY — A referendum on the town’s trash and recyclable curbside pickup service will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said Tuesday.

The article was being drafted Tuesday.

A public hearing is expected at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Spruce Mountain High School library.

About 40 people attended Monday’s selectpersons meeting to discuss possibly privatizing the service or eliminating it.

The board is exploring all options to find ways to reduce the 2016-17 budget.

Selectpersons started focusing on eliminating the service, but residents wanted to know how much it would cost to keep it.

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The $250,000 the town would save by eliminating it equals about $30 ?per $100,000 of property value, LaFreniere said.
 
The budget for the Transfer Station is $637,800. In 2005-06, it was more than $1 million. The highest it has been in 11 years was $1.14 million in 2010-11, according the information provided.

The anticipated budget for next year with no changes and 4½ employees is $635,000. The town would continue to provide the service and keep Saturday overtime, according to the town’s information. One employee works half time at the Transfer Station and half time at the Public Works Department.

If the pickup service was eliminated, 2½ employees were left, and the workweek changed to Tuesday through Saturday, the cost would be $388,400, saving the town nearly $250,000, she said.

The station is open six days a week. Overtime adds up to about $12,000, LaFreniere said.

Curbside collection could be provided townwide through a private company for approximately $120,000 a year. That would bring the anticipated budget to $508,400, she said.

The board was asked how much it would save the Verso Androscoggin Mill if the service was eliminated. The mill pays approximately 65 percent of the town’s taxes so it would save Verso $162,500, LaFreniere said.

The issue over keeping the pickup service or eliminating it has been ongoing for at least five years. Voters overwhelmingly rejected eliminating it in 2010.

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In related business, selectpersons voted to approve a union contract with employees at the Transfer Station. It is retroactive to July 1, 2014, and runs through June 30, 2017.

The pact gives no raises for the first two years and provides a 1½ percent increase on July 1, 2016. The agreement also pays new employees 10 percent less than current workers and offers less of a benefit package, LaFreniere said.

Current employees also got a $1,400 sign-on bonus in lieu of retroactive pay and to approve the contract.

The contract gives selectpersons the right to subcontract the curbside collection service effective Oct. 1, but the bargaining unit cannot go below two people.

There are three employees covered under the agreement.

It also gives the town the right to shift the workweek to Tuesday through Saturday to eliminate overtime, LaFreniere said.

The pact provides for the elimination of the truck driver’s position if curbside is eliminated or privatized, she said.

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