JAY — Selectpersons said Wednesday night that they couldn’t support keeping the curbside trash pickup service because of the cost and the need to plan ahead in light of Verso paper mill layoffs. 

Others at the public hearing said the service should be eliminated. 

Selectpersons said they were elected to do what is right for the town, and none of them wanted to see anybody lose their job.

With Verso Corp.’s paper mill value continuing to drop and the company’s announcement in August that it is shutting down a paper machine, pulp dryer and permanently eliminating 300 jobs, the town needs to plan ahead, selectpersons said.

As the mill’s taxes go down, property owners’ taxes will continue to rise, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said. 

Verso has challenged Jay’s valuation of the mill and property for 2013 and 2014 with the case currently at the state level. 


Town officials are looking at ways to reduce the budget to save money to keep taxes from increasing too much, which will also save the mill money since it pays about 65 percent of the town’s taxes. 

Voters will be asked the following in an advisory vote at the polls on Nov. 3:

* Do they prefer that selectpersons contract for curbside trash collection to save the town approximately $130,000 per year; or

* Do they prefer that selectpersons eliminate curbside trash collection, saving the town approximately $250,000 per year.

Residents Jean Richard, Lillian Wight and others suggested a third option be put on the ballot: keep the program as is.

Residents said they would only be saving $30 a year in taxes on a home valued at $100,000 if the program is eliminated and about half of that if it is privatized.


Resident Doug DiPasquale said he thinks the service should be eliminated. Surrounding towns do not have the service, he said.

Chris Brochu, a resident of Jay and a Verso mill worker, said a huge taxpayer — Verso — is struggling. The reality is the town needs to start finding ways to save money because the mill is not going to be there forever, he said.

Bucksport was ahead of the curve by about six to seven years, trying to cut costs before Verso closed the mill there in December, Brochu said.

“We have to get ahead of this curve and reduce costs,” he said. 

Bridgitte White, another resident, suggested that the town look at other places to cut. 

The board has been cutting positions and reducing costs for several years at the municipal level. At the same time, anticipated revenues have decreased. Officials plan to continue to look at options.


Selectperson Tom Goding said he has studied the issue and analyzed it for a long time. There is no other way to do it — either privatize or eliminate it, he said.

“We are just spinning around in circles and pretending it is not going to happen,”  Goding said.

He would not be in favor of keeping the service as is, he said.

It should be up to taxpayers to make the decision, resident Darren Pollis said.

“We need to make changes,” Goding replied.

Alan Archibald of Mexico, owner of Archie’s Inc., said his company provides curbside pickup or transfer station service for 25 communities. He gave the town a quote of about $120,000 to provide curbside service to Jay 52 weeks a year. His company would be able to do it two days a week.


“We will do a good job,” Archibald said. 

Resident Al Landry said he did not think it was encouraging for people to hear that taxes are going to go up next year.

“I don’t think I should lie to them,” Goding said. “I’m just trying to be honest.”

Resident Jeff Gilbert said, “I work at Verso. It is not very fun to hear 300 people are going to lose their jobs. It is only going to get worse. It is going to be tough.” 

If they work together, and if they work with Verso, it will be a tough road ahead, but they will make it and move ahead, he said.  There will still be three paper machines running, he said. 

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