JAY — Terry Bergeron, chairman of the Select Board, said Monday he issued a statement of support for the Androscoggin Mill and employees as they face the challenges ahead.

A rupture in a pressure vessel on April 15 destroyed one of two digesters at the Pixelle Specialty Solutions mill.  The large silo acted as a pressure cooker, breaking down wood chips mixed with water and chemicals under high heat and pressure into pulp for papermaking.

The paper machines were not damaged, according to representatives of the mill owner, which is based in Pennsylvania. Pulp is being used from two other mills Pixelle owns and supplemental sources.

Two of three paper machines that had been in operation were restarted Wednesday. The mill is not able to accept pulp wood at this time.

In another matter, Selectperson Gary McGrane asked when the town meeting vote would take place.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said no date has been set at this time. Gov. Janet Mills issued a “stay healthy at home order” in late March. That order was supposed to expire Thursday unless she extends it.

The governor has pushed the primary election that was scheduled to June 9 to July 14.

LaFreniere said she is waiting to see what date Regional School Unit 73 is going to hold its budget vote. Both Jay and RSU 73 had budget votes scheduled April 28 but the votes had to postpone in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time, the town cannot vote by absentee votes only, LaFreniere said. She said it is illegal. Maine Municipal Association is checking to see if the governor would issue an executive order for clarification if municipalities are able to conduct absentee-only elections, she said.

RSU 73 is checking with Maine School Management Association for clarification on voting on the school budget.

In other business, selectpersons voted to approve accepting a $1,000 donation from the Skowhegan Savings Charitable Foundation to go to the Tri-Town Ministerial Food Cupboard. Since the cupboard is a religiously affiliated 501(C)(3) nonprofit, the foundation cannot directly donate to the food cupboard, LaFreniere said. The foundation has asked the town to serve as a financial pass-through to make the donation.

“Our Administrative Ordinance authorizes the Select Board to accept and expend such donations on behalf of the town without further action by town meeting,” LaFreniere wrote in a memo to the board.

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