JAY — Selectpersons’ proposed $6 million municipal budget for 2017-18 is going to voters.

Absentee ballots will be available at the Town Office beginning March 24. The annual town meeting referendum will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the Jay Community Building.

Twenty-seven articles were reviewed during Monday’s public hearing. Resident Bob Berry moderated the meeting.

The proposed budget is $750,802 more than the current budget, after factoring in a $1.33 million payment to Verso Corp. to settle a tax dispute. After factoring in revenues, voters would need to raise $4.38 million, which is $504,102 more than last year. It does not include the town’s share of Regional School Unit 73 or Franklin County’s assessment.

A resident questioned safety at the Transfer Station if one position is eliminated and it left one and a half positions there. Another resident spoke in favor of keeping curbside trash/recyclables pickup. 

Both are on the chopping block. 

Resident Cindy McNeil spoke in favor of keeping the full-time detective position. The position is set for elimination in the budget with a part-time position being added so that the detective could conduct some investigations. 

McNeil asked to address the Board of Selectpersons on the impact she believes the community will see as a result of that cut.

She works for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services in Farmington that serves Franklin County.

“This is not a topic that is comfortable to hear about and no one wants to believe that these atrocious acts happen in our small community but I see them every day,” McNeil said. “It is imperative to have a well-trained, committed detective to be able to respond to these situations.”

The time and effort it takes to investigate one allegation of sexual violence far exceeds the time limit proposed, she said.

“When a child is involved, the time increases due to the sensitivity and specialized interview process that needs to occur,” McNeil said. “We are very fortunate to have a detective in our community to help see that justice is served.”

There are difficult cases to investigate and find the evidence that goes to the District Attorney’s Office, she said. Often these cases are difficult at best when an adult is involved, due to the time it takes for a survivor to feel able to come forward, and even more difficult when the survivor is a child and has been groomed to stay silent, making the evidence hard to find and corroborate, she said.

“I am speaking of only one type of crime and know that our Police Department deals with several others on a daily basis,” McNeil said. “I am asking everyone to think about our community and the effort it takes to uphold justice in hopes that the position will remain as it is and that we can continue to know that if we ever have to report a crime that it will be fully and thoroughly investigated.”

She asked the Police Department to be able to keep the resources it has.

Resident Marilyn Morse asked Police Chief Richard Caton IV how much time it takes for investigations.

It depends on what it is, he said, as an hour interview could take three to four hours to type up. When he was a detective, it was 40 hours minimum on a case, he said.

[email protected]

Jay resident Cindy McNeil, back center, speaks at a public hearing Monday night in favor of keeping a full-time detective position on the Jay Police Department. The position is set for elimination in Jay’s proposed $6 million municipal budget for 2017-18. McNeil also works for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services in Farmington, which covers Franklin County.

Jay Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere, second from left, answers a question Monday during a public hearing on the town’s proposed $6 million budget that voters will decide on April 25 during the annual town meeting referendum. From left are Selectperson Tom Goding, LaFreniere, board Chairman Terry Bergeron, Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo and Selectpersons Keith Cornelio and Judy Diaz.

Comments are not available on this story.