Verso grants third extension to Jay board on tax abatement request

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JAY — Verso Androscoggin LLC granted selectpersons a third extension Monday on the company’s request for a tax abatement of $469 million in valuation for the April 1, 2013, tax year assessment, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said Monday.

The board’s second extension was until Dec. 18, but it has now been extended to Dec. 31, she said.

The company’s attorney, Jonathan A. Block of Pierce Atwood in Portland, sent the extension letter to the town on Monday.

LaFreniere is hoping to hold an executive session with the board to discuss the matter this week.

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LaFreniere, town assessing agent Paul Binette and the town attorney have been meeting with Verso officials and their attorney.

Verso filed the abatement request in February, stating the town had overvalued the Androscoggin Mill and its personal property. The town’s assessed value of the mill and property for 2013-14 is about $929 million, consisting of approximately $140.4 million in real estate and $788.5 million in personal property.

The company believes the property should be valued at $460 million.

Verso granted an initial extension to selectpersons in March, giving them until Dec. 1 to act on the company’s request.

Under state law, selectpersons have 60 days from the date a tax abatement application is filed to act on it. If a board does not take action within that time, it is considered to be denied.

The town has adhered to the understanding under the March 21 extension that in order to get the extension, the town would obtain an independent, professional appraisal of the Verso facilities in Jay by a qualified appraiser as of April 1, 2013.

The town had the revaluation done, which resulted in the town’s 2014 assessment of Verso Paper Corp.’s paper mill and property, decreasing from $815.4 million of taxable value last year to about $592 million this year.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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