JAY — The possibility of adding $50,000 to the proposed budget for a resource officer for Regional School Unit 73 drew requests for more information and some concerns at the municipal budget review Tuesday.

RSU 73 is considering adding a resource officer, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere told selectpersons and the Budget Committee. She said she recently learned about the proposal.

The school district and Jay would share the cost, she said.

Karen Barnes, a counselor at RSU 73, will be at the 6 p.m. selectpersons meeting  Monday, Jan. 28, at the Town Office to discuss the proposal. 

Jay Police Department responds to the three Spruce Mountain schools in Jay several times a year. 

In 2017-18, police responded to the Spruce Mountain Elementary School seven times and so far this school year police responded to the school five times, Police Chief Richard Caton IV said Wednesday.

They responded 54 times to the high and middle schools last year and have responded 32 times so far this school year, he said.

A school resource officer would work for the town of Jay, Caton said Tuesday night. During vacations and the summer, the person would work as a patrol officer for the town.

LaFreniere said the chief would be in charge of the resource officer and during emergencies, the town would have another officer to call.

The department is struggling to fill a vacant patrol position, Caton said. He would like to restore the detective’s position to full-time like it was a couple of years ago. Now, an officer is a part-time detective and a part-time patrol officer. Money to restore the position is in the proposed 2019-20 budget.

Investigations are falling behind, Caton said.

The cost of a resource officer would be in addition to the regular Police Department budget.

If the proposal makes it into the town budget, Jay would add $50,000, LaFreniere said. The school district would add $50,000 in its budget as well.

The second year, the district would pay 75 percent and the town 25 percent, she said.

LaFreniere said she would like to have a separate line for the position so that expenses could be tracked.

RSU 73 is expected to begin its budget talks Jan. 31.

Selectpersons and Budget Committee members asked for more detailed information and the options being explored to cover the cost. Some did not want Jay paying twice for the position.

Under the proposal, as it stands, Jay would pay its share through the Police Department budget in addition to its share of the RSU 73 budget. 

Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls each pay a share of the school budget based on 80 percent valuation and 20 percent student enrollment.

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Jay selectpersons and Budget Committee members discuss on Tuesday night a proposal for a resource officer position at Regional School Unit 73 that Jay would pay a share of through its Police Department Budget, in addition to its regular tax assessment to the school district. From left are select board Chairman Terry Bergeron, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere, Budget Committee members Justin Merrill, Mike Ventrella and Brigitte White (who is partially hidden), and Police Chief Richard Caton IV. (Sun Journal photo by Donna M. Perry)

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