JAY — Selectpersons and Budget Committee members voted Monday to approve $181,215 for a professional services article to go back to voters on June 12.

The initial article for $201,215 was rejected by voters April 24 by a vote of 261-213. It was the only article to fail out of a proposed $6.18 million budget.

Selectpersons agreed to reduce a proposed valuation reserve amount in the article by $20,000, bringing it to $30,000. The budget panel also approved the move.

Prior to the vote, each account covered by the article was reviewed. 

The industrial valuation amount of $25,000 is for the assessing firm of John E. O’Donnell & Associates Inc. of New Gloucester to perform the industrial valuation for tax assessments. That includes the paper mill, Polycor, hydroelectric power facilities, Clark’s Riverside Scrap and other industrial entities.

There is also $32,000 for assessing services for the O’Donnell firm and $700 for the Town Office assessing expenses.


O’Donnell has done the assessing for the town for more than a decade. 

Selectperson Gary McGrane asked how frequently the town goes out to bid for assessing services.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said she has compared assessing services with other towns and found O’Donnell’s prices to be competitive.

The other towns also don’t have the large industrial base that Jay has. Other neighboring towns also use O’Donnell’s services

In her opinion, LaFreniere said it is very nice to have someone who understands the workings of the mill and how the town does the assessing.  

McGrane asked if they could go out to bid.


“We are right in line with the other towns,” Selectperson Judy Diaz said.

She would feel more comfortable, Diaz said, once they are out of the woods with the industrial valuations.

Androscoggin Hydro, a subsidiary of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy based in New Jersey, filed a tax abatement request for 2017 earlier this year for its two hydroelectric facilities connected to Jay on the Androscoggin River. There are four facilities all together that straddle the lines of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls. 

The other two towns also contract with O’Donnell and are also dealing with abatement requests.

The town will pay its third and final $1.33 million payment to Verso Corp. in 2018-19 to settle a valuation dispute. The town has also applied for and received reductions in valuation pertaining to the downsizing of the mill and associated equipment under the state’s Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation Program for three years. 

Resident Cindy Bennett said as a citizen she has dealt with the town’s assessing agent Paul Binette, of O’Donnell and Associates, and his services are good and he has been very helpful to her. 

The professional services article will go to hearing at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 14, at the Town Office. Three revised proposed ordinances and a proposed sewer rate will also go to hearing on that night. The ordinances and amended article will go to vote at the polls on June 12.

In other matters, Selectpersons Terry Bergeron and Tim DeMillo were re-elected chairman and vice chairman, respectively.


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