JAY — Town leaders voted Tuesday to keep the tax rate the same as last year at $20.50 per $1,000 of property value.

The Select Board had the option of going with a minimum tax rate of $20.20 per $1,000 of valuation or a maximum rate of $21.21.

After factoring in a $25,000 Homestead Exemption for eligible households, it means a homeowner with a house valued at $75,000 would see a tax bill of $1,025. A homeowner with a house valued at $100,000 would receive a tax bill for $1,537.50 and one with a house valued at $150,000 would see a tax bill of $2,562, according to information provided by assessing agent Paul Binette of John E. O’Donnell & Associates in New Gloucester.

The state will reimburse the town 73% for the loss of taxes due to the Homestead Exemption, compared to 70% last year, Binette said.

Selectmen voted last year to use $2.25 million from the town’s undesignated fund and increase the tax rate by $3 per $1,000 of valuation because of the Androscoggin Mill’s loss of value due to an explosion that wiped out the pulp digesters in 2020. The move was to avoid a roller coaster effect of a higher tax rate on taxpayers this year.

The Androscoggin Mill’s value and associated property increased by $30,342 to make it $109.84 million for the 2022-23 valuation. Mill owners will be assessed a tax of $1.8 million after the tax-increment financing agreement is factored in.

In February, the state lowered the town’s valuation by $201.1 million each year for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 after the town filed for Maine Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation program relief last fall because of the mill’s decreased value.

The reduction factored into the town receiving a Regional School Unit 73 assessment bill of $4.48 million this year compared to $6.12 million last year. It also affected the town’s state revenue sharing, which increased from $670,000 in 2021-22 to $1.1 million this year, Binette said.

Binette said he and his associates will conduct a year-long equalization revaluation program process for houses and buildings. He expects assessors to have “boots on the ground” in October and November. Each vehicle will have a magnet on its side identifying participants as assessors. They will also wear a photo identification tag. A letter will be sent out with a list of registrations and names of assessors. A list of registrations and names will be posted at the Town Office and the Police Department, he said.

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