JAY — Residents were speechless, or they at least had no questions, during a public hearing Monday night on the proposed $6.18 million budget for 2018-19.

The proposal will go before voters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 at the Community Building. Absentee ballots become available on Friday, March 23 at the Town Office.

Resident Paul Gilbert moderated the hearing that lasted less than 20 minutes at the Spruce Mountain Middle School. 

Resident Marilyn Morse made the only comment when it came to the warrant article that asked voters to raise and appropriate $123,000 for curbside trash and recyclable pickup. She reminded people if curbside pickup is voted back in, there will most likely be changes at the Transfer Station, including possible changes to the days it is open.

“I think a lot of people like it the way it is,” Morse said.

The Transfer Station belongs to the townspeople, she said.

Last year, voters passed a Transfer Station budget that did not include money for curbside pickup in April 2017. In June, residents submitted a petition signed by 373 voters to hold a special town meeting to raise and appropriate $120,000 to restore curbside trash and recyclables collection.  In August, residents voted 159-117 to restore curbside collection.

The proposed budget is $55,972 more than the current budget. That includes the final $1.33 million settlement payment of three to Verso Corp. to settle a tax dispute regarding overvaluation of the Androscoggin paper mill and associated equipment.

After factoring in anticipated revenues of nearly $1.77 million, the net budget represents a decrease of $79,528 from last year that residents would have to raise to support municipal government. The figures do not include the town’s share of the Regional School Unit 73 budget or Franklin County government.

Following the closing of the hearing, selectpersons moved into their role as assessors to discuss a letter the town’s assessing agent Paul Binette drafted to Eagle Creek Renewable Energy. 

The company bought four hydroelectric facilities along the Androscoggin River for $62 million in January 2016. The facilities span the town lines of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls. The towns of Canton and Dixfield are also involved. 

The New Jersey company has requested a tax abatement for 2017 claiming the hydro facilities should have been valued for about half of what they were purchased for 15 months earlier.

Assessors approved Binette’s letter that asks for supporting evidence for the reduced value. Among the items requested are: cash flow analysis, filings to the Internal Revenue Service, and all material relied upon to purchase the Androscoggin Hydro LLC facilities from Verso. 

Following Jay’s meeting, Binette was going to select board meetings in Livermore and Livermore Falls to see if they would approve the letter.

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