JAY — Selectpersons voted 4-1 Monday to increase the base sewer rates by $52 for up to 3,200 cubic feet of water, and to increase the rate by a half of cent for any amount that exceeds minimum use.

The base rate was set at $327 for the minimum use, and the rate over that amount at 8.5 cents. The base rate is currently $275 and 8 cents per cubic foot for any amount that exceeds 3,200 cubic feet.

The new rate will go into effect July 1.

Selectperson Judy Diaz opposed the vote. She favored setting the base rate at $300 and the amount that exceeded 3,200 cubic feet of water use at 9.5 cents. It would have the least affect on older residents and those on fixed incomes, she said.

Under that option, the largest users would have the largest increase, Chairman Terry Bergeron said.

Voting in favor were Selectpersons Keith Cornelio, Gary McGrane, Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo and Bergeron.

The base rate for sewer use was increased by $25 in 2016.

During budget talks last winter, selectpersons requested that $54,000 in additional sewer revenue be raised to offset the amount paid through taxes for the operation and maintenance of the Sewer Department.

Voters approved raising the additional revenue when they passed the revenue article on April 25 at the annual town meeting. The vote was 499-188.

The new rate will fund 89 percent of the operation and maintenance cost of the Sewer Department, leaving 11 percent to be raised by taxes, Sewer Superintendent Mark Holt said.

Selectpersons have been increasing the rate over several years so sewer fees will eventually cover the entire cost of the Sewer Department’s operation and maintenance budget.

In other business, the board held a public hearing on two articles that will go before voters during a referendum on the proposed 2017-18 budget on June 13. The articles, pertaining to town government and the Sewer Department, failed on April 25. 

Residents did not ask any questions on the proposed articles.

Selectpersons previously reduced the proposed town government article by $4,500 to make it $459,265, and the Sewer Department article was reduced by $5,313 to $526,300. Both budgets were previously reduced prior to the April vote.

Absentee ballots are available for the two articles. Residents will need to have a special circumstance to get an absentee ballot after June 9.

In another matter, selectpersons voted 4-1 to prohibit commercial trash and recyclable haulers from using the Transfer Station. McGrane voted against the measure.

Only Archie’s Inc. is able to bring Jay residents’ trash and recyclables to the Jay station. However, the majority of voters April 25 approved eliminating curbside pickup as of July 1, which ends the contract with the Mexico company.

The board also voted to set up a special reserve account for Police Department training with the $24,300 the town of Wells reimbursed Jay for sending former Jay officer Stephanie Guillemette to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 2016. Guillemette recently left Jay for a position at the Wells Police Department.

A special town meeting will be set to consider setting up the training reserve account.

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