JAY — Selectpersons voted unanimously Tuesday to set the 2018-19 tax rate at $20.25 per $1,000 of property valuation, which is $2.25 less than last year’s rate.

The owner of a home and property valued at $75,000, and factoring in a $20,000 Homestead Exemption, would pay a tax bill of $1,113, which is $124 less than in 2017-18, according to assessing agent Paul Binette’s information. 

Owners of a home and property valued at $100,000 and factoring in the exemption would have a tax bill of $1,620, a decrease of $180 from the previous year. An owner of a home and property valued at $150,000 and factoring in the exemption, would see a tax bill of $2,632, which is $293 less than what was paid in 2017-18, according to Binette’s data.

The board also agreed on a $218,584 overlay, which is typically used for tax abatements. Any remaining money at the end of the fiscal year would go into the town’s undesignated fund balance and could be used to offset next year’s tax commitment.  

Selectpersons reviewed a variety of tax-rate scenarios Tuesday before deciding on the rate. The scenarios ranged from a minimum of $19.86 to a maximum of $20.85. 

One of the big factors for the lower rate is attributed to substantially lower education spending, Binette said. He and other municipal officials worked with Maine Revenue Services through the state’s Sudden Severe Valuation Loss program for successful outcomes three years in a row to lower the town’s valuation because of the declining value of the town and Verso Corp.’s paper mill.

In 2017, the town paid about $7 million for education, and this year it will pay about $5.7 million.

The town will also make its final payment of $1.3 million to Verso Androscoggin in a $4 million settlement of a valuation dispute.

The mill was valued at $930 million in 2013 and this year it is valued at $293 million factoring in exemptions, according to Binette. The valuation rose slightly since last year’s valuation of $292.75 million.

In 2012, Verso paid 70 percent of the town’s tax commitment. This year it will pay 46 percent, Binette said.

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Jay selectpersons from left, Tom Goding, Gary McGrane, Judy Diaz, Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo, Chairman Terry Bergeron and Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere go over tax-rate scenarios Tuesday with town assessing agent Paul Binette at the Jay Town Office. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)


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