Jay selectboard considering a revote on marijuana businesses

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JAY – The Board of Selectmen discussed a revote on marijuana operations during the July 26 meeting. Marc Mancini, a resident of Jay who currently runs a medical marijuana caregiver operation, requested that the board put a ballot question to the town in November. In April 2019, the town voted 200-204 against marijuana cultivation, testing, and adult use or medical marijuana stores. Medical marijuana caregiver programs are under the state’s oversight and not regulated at the municipal level.

The board expressed interest in revoting on the question, since it had been voted down by less than two percent and by a relatively small segment of the population.
Shiloh LaFreniere, the Town Manager, presented the board with a proposed timeline: to include the question on the ballot for November, the wording would need to be approved by the Board 60 days prior to voting day, around Sept. 2. There are two board meetings scheduled before then.

If the board decides to move forward with calling a revote, they would have the opportunity to choose between defaulting to the state guidelines for business oversight, or developing their own ordinance. If they choose to develop an ordinance, LaFreniere said they could include a ballot question in November to place a moratorium until April, allowing time to create the ordinance.

Mancini said he had conducted informal polls among community members and found that most of the concerns focused around proximity and accessibility, which could be addressed through an ordinance that restricted location, number of facilities, and types of facilities.

The board voted to table the question until the meeting on August 9 to allow LaFreniere to gather more information.

Bill and Becky Rider were present at the meeting to request a ‘No Engine Brake’ sign on the south end of the Old Jay Hill Road. Bill stated that it was a specific handful of trucks that utilized their compression release engine brakes going both up and down the hill. Bill said that if the braking system was properly installed, it didn’t make much noise; he believed that the exhaust system was modified with straight pipes, which is illegal in the State of Maine. The trucks are believed to be contractors hauling for PolyCorp. John Johnson with Jay Public Works spoke with the company and they agreed to take it up with the drivers. The Riders were satisfied with the current status and would wait to see if the issue resolved itself.

The three towns of Jay, Livermore Falls, and Livermore host four hydro facilities, which were purchased by Eagle Creek Renewable Energy in 2016. Recently Eagle Creek approached the towns about their upcoming valuation assessment. The towns are proposing to work together with Sansoucy Associates to update the valuation based on changes in energy industry and the performance of the facilities.

Captain Darren Roundy with the Jay Fire Department asked the board to approve a change in first responder policy. For the last few years, Jay Fire has sent emergency medical responders to assist NorthStar on all calls that Dispatch marks as priority level Charlie, Delta, or Echo. Charlie level calls are possibly life-threatening – chest pains or difficulty breathing, for example. Delta level calls are life-threatening, such as limited responses or heavy bleeding. Echo level calls are full arrest. Roundy said that for many Charlie level calls, there isn’t much for the fire department to do except wait for the ambulance. To conserve limited manpower and help prevent burnout, the department asked that their role be changed to respond ‘as requested’ by NorthStar. Roundy said that NorthStar administration supported the change. The board approved the change.

Roundy also requested that the board approve possible expenditure from capital funds to cover necessary repairs on Engine Three. The total bill is around $5,850 which can be expended from the equipment repairs fund of $15,000, but it will use a significant portion of the fund at the beginning of the fiscal year. The board agreed that, if necessary at the end of the fiscal year, capital funds could be used to cover the expense.

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