JAY — People don’t know how they are going to pay their taxes, Shari Ouellette of Jay, business owner and former school board director, told Regional School Unit 73 directors Thursday night.

The 2022-23 budget presented to directors Feb. 3 is $22.17 million, or $1.42 million more than this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Ouellette questioned whether the schools really needed such an increase. Older residents have expressed concerns and businesses have been brought down over the past two years due to COVID-19, she said.

“In two years, maybe three, (the Androscoggin paper) mill is going to be gone and then where are we?” she asked. “We need help.”

The amount Livermore and Livermore Falls pay for Spruce Mountain schools will increase if the budget is approved, Superintendent Scott Albert said later during a review of proposed revenue figures.

He referred to the recent news that the state has lowered Jay’s valuation by more than $200 million for each year for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Each town’s share of the school budget is based in part on their individual valuations.


If the budget were to pass, Jay would pay $1.67 million less than last year, Livermore would pay $182,887 more and Livermore Falls would pay $127,530 more, Albert said.

Money to cover expenses above what the state deems necessary would increase Jay’s portion by $113,488; Livermore’s by $303,497; and Livermore Falls’ by $260,467.

Total local revenue would be $1.3 million less, offset by $2.66 million in state revenue and $57,560 from RSU 73’s cash balance. The total of all revenues would be $1.42 million.

In addition, each town is being asked to pay $60,000 for food services (down from $80,000 last year) and $66,000 toward adult education, the amount approved last year.

“Overall we’re in decent shape,” Albert said. Without the tennis courts, taxpayers in Livermore would see an $83 increase on a home valued at $100,000 or $166 on a $200,000 home, and Livermore Falls residents would pay $73 more on a $100,000 home or $146 on a $200,000 property. Jay residents would see zero increase, he noted.

“It’s a better picture than we thought it might be,” Albert said.


The district is also being asked to add an article on the budget warrant seeking $45,000 for improvements to the district’s tennis courts in Jay. Deb Roberts of Livermore, president of the Hollandstrong Community Foundation, made the request. Her son, Michael Holland, was a merchant mariner and 2008 Jay High School graduate who died when the SS El Faro sank on Oct. 1, 2015, near the Bahamas.

State approval has been received for a 50/50 matching grant to rebuild the courts which have been unusable for 10 years, Roberts said. The national level wanted more commitment on the match, she noted.

In November, Roberts asked selectpersons members in the three towns to contribute about $9,000 per town toward the match. Jay officials agreed to put it on their Town Meeting warrant for voters to decide, but the others declined.

“We’ll need to find those funds somewhere else,” Roberts said when asked about the $18,000 denied by Livermore and Livermore Falls.

“The total budget is about $413,000,” she said. The two courts would be replaced with three courts and new lighting, she noted. “I’m asking the communities of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls for $45,000 — a little over 10% of the total project.”

“Kids would benefit from this,” Director Lynn Ouellette said.

“This is for the entire community, not just Jay,” Director Elaine Fitzgerald said. “Tennis is a lifelong sport, even old people like tennis. This only makes the community better.”

Spruce Mountain girls tennis coach Mary Luce and former coach Leanna Lavoie spoke in support of the request.

“It’s an opportunity, an attraction for our community,” Lavoie said. “It’s healthy for our kids.”

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