OLD TOWN (AP) – Georgia-Pacific’s surprise announcement that it is doing away with tissue production at its local mill has raised concerns about the loss of a sizable chunk of the city’s tax revenues.

The company pays $3.3 million, or 35 percent of Old Town’s property taxes. Georgia-Pacific’s assessed valuation of $138 million includes two tissue machines that are to be moved to a sister company in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

“They’re reportedly moving $80 to $90 million (worth of equipment). Translated that means approximately $2 million in taxes,” said Councilor Scott Cates said.

Cates noted Tuesday that the removal of the machines would enable the company to seek a tax abatement.

Georgia-Pacific announced Friday is permanently shutting down tissue production in Old Town, cutting 300 of the 600 mill jobs.

The pending departure of the machines left local officials wondering whether they would be forced to return a portion of this year’s taxes.

“I don’t know when, if, or what” will happen, City Manager John Lord said. “I don’t know, and that’s the problem.”

Company officials said they would not hand the city any surprises.

“We’re looking at the issues and options related to abatement, and we have not made any decision,” said Georgia-Pacific controller Rick Douglas.

“We will do that in concert with the city. We’re going to be very careful about how this impacts the city because we’re very conscious of how that will impact the city, the taxpayers and the overall community.”

AP-ES-04-09-03 1139EDT

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