JAY — Selectpersons are expected to adopt a budget at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Spruce Mountain Middle School.

The spending plan will go to voters April 25. 

Selectpersons and the Budget Committee have heard from both sides, those who want significant cuts and those who would like to keep some services intact. The budget panel will also make recommendations Feb. 13. 

The proposed $4.79 million plan for 2017-18 is $480,427 less than the current budget. After factoring in revenues, the net budget is proposed at $3.19 million, which represents a reduction of $691,127, or 17.8 percent from this year’s expenditures.

The amount does not factor in a second $1.3 million payment of a $4 million settlement agreement to Verso Corp. to settle a three-year tax dispute. The final $1.3 million payment will be included in the 2018-19 budget. 

Verso’s valuation is expected to decline again April 1, when the shutdown of a second paper machine and related equipment are taken into account. A paper machine and related equipment were also shut down in 2015. 

Advertisement

The budget figures also don’t factor in the elimination of a full-time detective position with the Police Department. The officer in that position would have bumping rights, according to Police Chief Richard Caton IV. 

Selectpersons will receive a proposal with the position and one without it Feb. 13.

The department has a full-time secretary and seven officers, including the chief and one who is on special assignment with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. The agency covers the cost of that officer.

The detective’s duties include taking all seized evidence to Augusta, investigating financial crimes against older citizens, bad checks to businesses, completing paperwork to get a search warrant and conducting interviews on criminal cases, Caton said. The detective is on call 24 hours a day, he said.

If  the position is eliminated, he would like to hire a permanent part-time officer at 16 hours a week with no benefits. That would let the current detective do investigations. Otherwise, investigations would be delayed because patrolmen would not have the time to conduct them.

Caton said the detective also investigates crimes against children. Franklin County has the highest child sexual assault rate per capita in the state. These investigations take time, he said.

Advertisement

“I know we have to make cuts,” resident Marilyn Morse said at a budget hearing Monday night, but she stressed they should be common-sense reductions. She, like other residents, spoke in favor of keeping both police and fire departments whole, while several stressed that cuts must be made across the board. 

“We need to be fiscally responsible and make cuts now and stop pushing it off,” Selectperson Judy Diaz said.

Residents also spoke in favor of restoring donations to the local organizations.

There was also a push to take recreation services and equipment costs out of the town’s Recreation Reserve Account. Selectpersons will consider that Feb. 13.

Sally Boivin, director of the Spruce Mountain Summer Recreation Program, asked that the town continue to help fund the program. Jay and Livermore Falls each pay $12,000 and Livermore Falls oversees it. Last year, 130 children from Jay participated, along with 95 from Livermore Falls and 30 from Livermore. Livermore families pay more because that town does not subsidize the program but is in the Regional School Unit 73 district. Children from other towns pay a higher price.

All of the recreation sign-up fees are kept by Livermore Falls. The town pays $500 rent to Area Youth Sports to use the former high school. Regional School Unit 73 Food Service Director Dora Flagg secures funds to provide free lunch and breakfast for the children during the six-week program. Parents help pay for trip costs and grants help offset transportation expenses. Local high school and college students work on the program.

Any leftover money is carried over to the next year for start-up costs.

[email protected] 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.