JAY — Selectpersons voted Monday to hold a special town meeting March 24 to see if voters will transfer $300,000 from the undesignated fund to an account to do a revaluation of Verso Paper Corp.’s paper mill.

The last revaluation of the mill was done 17 years ago by ValPoint of Oregon, now known as Corporate Valuations Inc.

The special town meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Spruce Mountain High School library on Community Drive.

Town officials and the town‘s assessing agent and attorney met with Verso Paper Corp.’s representatives last week.

The Board of Selectpersons met in executive session before Monday’s meeting to discuss the pending legal matter. They made no decision after the session but did during their regular meeting.

Verso Androscoggin LLC filed an application in February for a 2013 abatement of property taxes requesting the town abate $459 million in valuation from the company’s real estate and personal property at the Androscoggin Mill.

The mill was required to file an application by Feb. 27 to reserve its right to pursue an abatement. Two meetings between officials of the town and mill had been snowed out prior to Feb. 27.

Residents voted in January to transfer up to $125,000 from the town’s undesignated fund, also known as surplus, from the industrial valuation account. That money was used for industrial valuation specialists to review documents to try to determine the just and true value of the mill and associated legal costs. At the time Jay had about $6 million in its undesignated fund.

The $300,000 will be used to do a complete revaluation of the mill and its property, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said.

The town had a full valuation done on the mill in 1997 and every year since then, Verso Paper sends in data on any new items or equipment and other associated information, former Town Manager Ruth Cushman told voters in January.

According to Verso’s abatement application the mill’s real estate valuation is listed by the town at nearly $140.5 million and the personal property valuation at $788.5 million.

Verso believes the just value of the mill and associated property as of April 1, 2013 was $460 million, according to its abatement application.

According to Jay’s tax commitment data, the town values the mill’s property at $815.4 million. That does not include the $111.9 million assessment of tax exempt assets related to the state’s Business Equipment Tax Exemption program, according to information provided by Paul Binette, the town’s assessing agent from John E. O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester.

The town taxed Verso at $11.4 million in 2013 but $2.4 million in taxes would be or has been given back due to two tax-increment financing agreements. The two 20-year TIF agreements were approved by voters in 1995 and 2004.

The mill’s taxes after the TIF are $9 million. Verso pays 69 percent of the town’s property taxes, according to Binette.

Verso’s abatement request of $469 million in value equals about $6.5 million in taxes, not factoring in any exemptions, according to Binette.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: