Jay Police Chief Richard Caton IV, right, reviews his proposed budget on Tuesday with selectpersons and Budget Committee members including from left, Michael Ventrella, Vice Chairman Michael Schaedler and Chairman Charles Riekert. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

JAY — Town officials, budget panel members and department heads reviewed a proposed $5.3 million municipal budget  for 2020-21 at the Town Office on Tuesday.

It took about 90 minutes to go over the proposed spending plan and for the Budget Committee to elect Charles Riekert as chairman, Michael Schaedler as vice chairman and Ricky Merrill as secretary.

The overall spending proposal reflects an increase of $19,453, or 0.37%, over the current budget. It also factors in an estimated $2 million in revenues, which is up $120,600, or 6.17%, from this year.

If no changes are made, taxpayers would be assessed an estimated $3.25 million, a decrease of $101,147, or 3.01% from the existing budget.

An increase in many departments is due to a 3 percent raise for employees and an extra payroll week in 2020-21 to make it 53 weeks. Raises for employees were slim, if any, for three years while the town was paying off a $4 million over valuation settlement to Verso Corp. The last payment was in 2018-19.

The town’s share of the school resource officer will be reduced in next year’s budget to 25%, which is $20,000, while Regional School Unit 73’s share is 75%. The town and school each raised $50,000 in the current budget for the startup costs for the first school resource officer.

The officer, Darin Gilbert, is a member of the Jay Police Department. He works 13 weeks for the town and 39 weeks for the school district. Jay has budgeted $20,000 for its share of the cost.

Gilbert has been very busy, busier than he expected, Police Chief Richard Caton IV said.

“A lot is going on in the school,” Budget Committee member Marilyn Morse said.

It was a much needed position, Caton said.

The Fire Rescue Department’s proposed budget is up $1,500 from the existing budget to make it $240,920. The roster is at its highest he has seen in more than 20 years, Chief Michael Booker said.

“We did some major hiring” earlier this year, he said. There are about 43 firefighters.

The proposed spending plan does not include the town’s share of Regional School Unit 73 or the Franklin County budgets, which have not been finalized.

The Select Board and the Budget Committee will vote on the proposal at 5 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Spruce Mountain High School Library before it is sent to voters on April 28.


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