Jay moving forward with April 28 town meeting date

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JAY – At this time, Jay intends to hold its annual town meeting on the originally-scheduled April 28 date, with absentee ballots available this week.

Jay annually holds a secret ballot-style town meeting, utilizing a 36-article warrant to set the town budget and elect officials. As of now, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said in an email, the town will be moving forward as though the meeting will take place on April 28. That date will be subject to review moving forward; towns have additional flexibility in scheduling and rescheduling town meetings thanks to LD 2167, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Janet Mills last week, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health advice regarding social distancing.

Until Jan. 1, 2021, LD 2167 allows municipalities to postpone town meeting votes with at least two days of advance warning. It also allows towns to use previously-printed ballots at a postponed meeting.

Absentee ballots will be available from the town office until April 23 at 5 p.m., beyond which a voter would need to qualify for a special circumstance to cast an absentee ballot. Residents can acquire one by simply calling the town office at 897-6785 to have a ballot mailed to them, or can print and mail an application for an absentee ballot to the town office at: Town of Jay; 340 Main Street; Jay, ME 04239 or fax – 897-9420 – or by emailing the application here. An application for an absentee ballot can be downloaded off the Jay website.

Candidates in the municipal election include incumbent Selectperson F. Timothy DeMillo running for his own seat and two candidates running for the 5th Selectperson seat: incumbent Selectperson Gary McGrane and challenger Trudy-Marie Marshall. Two positions are open on the Regional School Unit 73 board with a single candidate, incumbent Director Robert Staples II. Candidates running unopposed for trustee seats on the water district include Raymond Fleury II and Randall Doiron. All of these positions are three-year terms.

The 36-article warrant would approve $5,300,474 in proposed municipal expenditures would mark a roughly $9,000 reduction in spending as compared to the current fiscal year. With projected revenues increasing to $2.1 million, a $120,000 jump over the current budget, residents would be asked to pay $3.23 million in assessments, a decrease of roughly $130,000 or more than 3 percent.

Increases to the budget, as compared to the current fiscal year, includes an extra $25,000 to go into Capital Paving – $300,000 in the current fiscal year’s budget to $325,000 – as well as a 3 percent salary increase for employees. Another set of increases relates to the extra week of payroll expenses for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Savings as compared to the current fiscal year’s budget include a reduction of $55,000 in the town’s debt service payments, due to a Sewer Department loan associated with the Route 4 project being paid off. Another reduction relates to the school resource officer, with Jay paying for $20,000 of that position, which is otherwise covered by the Regional School Unit 73 budget. As part of the 2019-20 budget, Jay residents agreed to pay $50,000 to establish the position, which is split between the school district and local department when school isn’t in session.

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