Jay’s state valuation lowered for second year in a row

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JAY — The town’s certified state valuation for 2017-18 has been reduced by $111.8 million, to $586.45 million under the state’s Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation Program.

It is the second year Jay has qualified for a reduced adjustment because of downsizing at the Androscoggin paper mill and the loss of valuation for the town.

“For the second year in a row, the town of Jay has worked closely with Maine Revenue Services in order to have the significant loss in value of Verso’s Androscoggin Mill recognized for state valuation purposes,” Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said. “The state’s Sudden and Severe Valuation Loss Program allows for an immediate adjustment to the town’s state valuation which affects the funding that the town will receive in education subsidy and state revenue-sharing. This program is a significant benefit to the citizens of Jay during these times and we are very pleased that our application has been approved.”

Since December 2015, Verso has shut down two paper machines, a pulp dryer, a recovery boiler and related operations and equipment at the Jay mill. It has also reduced its workforce by nearly 500 employees to leave about 370 workers at the mill.

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The adjustment means the town will receive more state revenue-sharing than initially projected to help offset next year’s budget. Voters will decide the budget April 25.

Jay was projected to receive $295,548.48 in revenue-sharing, but now it’s expected to get $369,025.41, LaFreniere said. She included $240,000 in revenue-sharing in the proposed 2017-18 budget.

The adjustment will not affect Jay’s share of Franklin County taxes for the 2017-18 fiscal year but will the following year.

Jay’s valuation had been $1 billion in 2014 prior to the mill’s drop in valuation.

In accordance with state law, the town of “Jay has experienced a severe loss in valuation due to a partial cessation together with an unyielding decline in demand and viability of papermaking operations at the Verso-Androscoggin LLC mill, which is owned by Verso Corp.,” according to a letter Mike Rogers, supervisor of municipal services for Maine Revenue Services Property Tax Division, sent to state Treasurer Terry Hayes. It was dated April 7.

“The town of Jay has satisfactorily demonstrated to Maine Revenue Services that a disruption in municipal valuation has occurred and warrants this notice,” Rogers wrote.

The certified 2017 state valuation for the town stands at $698.25 million and when reduced by $111.8 million an adjusted valuation of $586.45 million results for the purpose of calculating distribution of revenue-sharing in accordance to state law, he wrote.

The adjustment will increase the state’s education subsidy connected to the state funding for Essential Programs and Services. Jay’s contribution to Regional School Unit 73 in regard to services was previously listed as $6.24 million, but now it will be $5.31 million.

The lower valuation brings the three-year average that the 2017-18 education subsidy will be based on to $641.01 million, according to state documents. Before the adjustment, the average was $752.81 million.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Town of Jay

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