JAY — Selectpersons, Budget Committee members and department representatives went through the draft municipal budgets for 2016-17 Monday night looking for ways to cut spending.

The proposal, without any cuts, was $5.42 million, which is $216,066 less than the current budget. That is not factoring in an anticipated $1.36 million in revenues.

At the forefront of the review were questions about what the reduced value of the Androscoggin Paper Mill will be since Verso Corp. had shut down a paper machine and pulp drier in the fall. The value will not be known until April 1.

There is also the unknown of Verso Corp. filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for all the company and 26 subsidiaries to reorganize debt. The mill has already appealed Jay’s valuations for tax years 2013 and 2014. The cases are waiting to be heard at the state level.

“This is really the first draft,” Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said of the budget.

Department heads had been asked to put together the best budget they could live with, she said.

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“When we go through these we need to make cuts,” Selectperson Tom Goding said. “What I would like is a real conversation of what we can live with and what we can do without.”

By the end of the 3 ½-hour meeting another $6,500 was cut, $5,000 from the Fire Rescue Department’s Capital Reserve reducing it to $80,000 leaving the proposed budget at $246,720. The Jay-Niles Memorial Budget was cut by $1,500 from the books, CDs and other circulation material leaving the proposal at $166,400.

Another meeting for budget review was scheduled at 5 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Town Office.

LaFreniere was tasked with bringing back information. including what the effect would be on the budget if the Town Office was closed one day a week and if there was one less position at the office.

She was also asked to see what Livermore Falls and Wilton’s police budgets look like and to see if they could contract for cleaning services and mowing for the town. Eliminating more street lights was also discussed.

Eliminating departments was another topic, as was the cost of health insurance for employees and whether that could be put out to bid and contracts renegotiated. The contracts expire June 30, 2017.

Several department heads had reduced their budgets prior to coming to the meeting.

They need to go home and think of ways to reduce the budget and bring their ideas back to the next meeting, Goding said.

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