JAY — Selectpersons voted Wednesday to hire a permanent full-time employee for the Public Works Department to help with winter staffing.

An employee is on medical leave and another may be going on medical leave, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said. Both may be out for an extended period of time. Plus, there are people nearing retirement age, she said.

The board’s vote also authorized closing the Transfer Station, if necessary, so workers can plow the roads. LaFreniere said she will post notices to inform people of the closing.

There are nine members on the highway crew, including the mechanic and department Director John Johnson. There used to be 13, Johnson said. There are 90 miles of roads to plow and sand.

With two employees out on medical leave, seven people are not going to get it done, he said.

Towns are having difficulty hiring workers who are qualified to drive a plow truck, Johnson said.

There are two full-time employees in other departments with Class A licenses who can fill in for plowing purposes, LaFreniere said.

The town also has a part-time employee who can plow with a smaller truck.

“However, if we utilize these employees there may be times that we need to close the Transfer Station so that we can make plowing a priority,” LaFreniere wrote in a memo to the board.

In other business, selectpersons approved a timeline leading up to the annual town meeting referendum on April 28, 2020, making it coincide with the Regional School Unit 73 budget validation referendum.

Budget books are expected to be ready Jan. 15. Nominations for Select Board, School Board and Water District will be available Jan. 21.

The Select Board will hold a workshop to review a proposed 2020-21 town budget at 5 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Town Office with selectpersons, Budget Committee members, the town manager and department heads.

A proposed vote on the budget by the Select Board and Budget Committee will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at Spruce Mountain High School in the library. A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 6 p.m. March 9 in the high school library.

The board also voted 4-1 to only accept donation funding requests for organizations that were funded in the current budget and not open it to others. Selectperson Gary McGrane opposed the vote while Chairman Terry Bergeron, Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo and Selectpersons Judy Diaz and Tom Goding voted in favor.

The board is looking for one regular member and two alternate members to fill vacancies on the Budget Committee. The Paving Committee could also use more people, Bergeron said.

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