JAY — Selectpersons and Budget Committee members deliberated three hours Monday before reducing two failed town department budgets by nearly $9,000 and prepared them to go before voters June 13 at the polls.

The warrant article for town government funds failed at the annual town meeting referendum April 25 by a vote of 258-375. The Sewer Department budget failed 251-378.

Selectpersons voted 4-1 to reduce the Sewer Department budget by $5,313 to $526,300.

Department Superintendent Mark Holt said that before the town meeting vote he underestimated the cost of an expense related to the Livermore Falls Treatment Plant by $8,350. He made cuts to cover all but $1,000, leaving the budget presented Monday night at $531,613. 

Holt said the Maine Department of Environmental Protection agency did a staffing analysis of the Jay wastewater facility and collection system. The analysis estimated that 3,905 hours are needed annually for operation and maintenance, the equivalent of 2.6 full-timers. There are two full-time staff members, including Holt. The town is required to follow rules and regulations for the system.

Voting in favor of the reduction was Chairman Terry Bergeron, Selectpersons Keith Cornelio, Gary McGrane and Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo. Selectperson Judy Diaz was opposed.

The Budget Committee voted 5-1 to approve the new Sewer Department amount with Brigitte White, Marilyn Morse, Michael Schaedler, Charles Riekert and Mike Ventrella in favor. Chairwoman Pat Booker was opposed.

In regard to town government, selectpersons voted 4-1 to reduce the budget by $4,500, to $459,265.

The Town Office staff is made up of four full-time employees and one part-time person. Staff includes Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere, Financial Director Lisa Bryant, and Town Clerk Ronda Palmer, whose jobs include tax collector, office manager, code enforcement officer.

Jay’s population is 4,851.

Palmer said the office staff offers several services to residents and tries to find solutions for them, if needed. She presented a two-page report that was full of services and tasks the staff handles.

A staffing comparison at other offices in the area showed the following:

• Rumford, population 5,841, has nine full-time employees in its office, according to data presented;

• Madison, population 4,855, has five full-time staff and one part-timer;

• Turner, population 5,734, has three full-time and three part-time employees;

• Farmington, population 7,760, has eight full-time and one part-time staff; and 

• Wilton, population 4,116, and has four full-time and two part-time positions in its Town Office staff.

Palmer said she didn’t know how the office would run if another position was reduced or cut. They already cut about $40,000 from the proposed budget for 2017-18 and eliminated the equivalent of one position last year.

The office staff agreed not to sell their vacation time, which resulted in the $4,500 savings.

Selectpersons voted 4-1 to approve a $459,265 town government article. Diaz opposed while the four other selectpersons voted in favor.

Diaz wanted a reduction in staffing. 

The Budget Committee voted 4-2 for the proposal. Booker and White were opposed; the remaining members were in favor.

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Jay officials deliberate on a 2017-18 budget Tuesday night. They are, from left,  Budget Committee members Brigitte White, Marilyn Morse and Pat Booker, Selectperson Keith Cornelio, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere, Selectpersons Terry Bergeron, Gary McGrane and Judy Diaz, and Budget Committee members Mike Schaedler, Charles Riekert and Mike Ventrella (hidden).


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