JAY — Selectpersons on Monday cut $48,000 from two reserve accounts, and with hydrant rentals being $22,000 less than initially projected, the proposed municipal budget is $6.18 million.

That’s $56,222 more than the current budget.

After factoring in nearly $1.77 million in revenue, it represents a net budget of $4.4 million that taxpayers will need to raise for municipal government for 2018-19.

That is, if voters approve the budget on April 24.

It is $79,278 less than the current net budget.

It also does not include the town’s share of the Regional School Unit 73 or Franklin County assessments. 

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The spending plan also factors in the final $1.33 million tax settlement payment to Verso Corp.

Budget talks continue at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Spruce Mountain Middle School for the library budget and donations.

Several of the votes were mixed. 

An attempt to reduce the professional services amount by about $20,000 from the proposed $201,215 narrowly failed. Selectpersons voted 3-2 to keep it at the original proposal. Selectpersons Terry Bergeron, Tim DeMillo and Keith Cornelio voted in favor while Selectpersons Judy Diaz and Gary McGrane voted in opposition.

Diaz was proposing to reduce the $50,000 to $30,000 in the valuation reserve account because there is $109,000 in it, she said. 

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said the town has been doing revaluation updates of the mill each year as required to apply for the state’s Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation Program because of the decreasing value of Verso Corp.’s paper mill.

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The state has approved the town’s applications for the past three years. It brings in more state revenue-sharing to the town and increases the state education subsidy on behalf of the town to the Regional School Unit 73 in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls.

The valuation reserve isn’t just for valuations of the mill, LaFreniere said. It could be used to do a townwide revaluation, if needed, among other revaluations that may be needed for other business.

The Budget Committee rejected $201,215 for professional services by a 5-6 vote. That means a no recommendation from the panel will appear on the warrant article.

The Police Department’s budget proposed at $650,960 was reduced by $8,000 by selectpersons in a mixed vote. The money will come from the reserve account. The budget stands at $642,960. 

Resident Marilyn Morse praised the department for the good work that is done and the prompt responses of officers. 

The department’s proposed budget is more than $7,000 less than the current budget, even after adding in a share of expenses for the Municipal Building that were previously in a separate budget.

Selectpersons also cut the Fire Rescue Department’s proposed capital reserve budget by half, leaving it at $40,000. It left the department’s budget at $205,920. The reduction was made by a 3-2 vote, with Cornelio, Diaz and McGrane in favor and Bergeron and DeMillo opposed .

A public hearing on all warrant articles, including the budget, will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 12, at the middle school. No changes to the warrant can legally be made at this time. Absentee ballots become available Friday, March 23. Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the Community Building.  

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