JAY — Verso Androscoggin LLC has agreed to grant selectpersons an extension until Dec. 1 to act on its request for a tax abatement on Jay’s assessment of its real estate and personal property in the town.

The town received the formal notice on March 31 that Verso had approved the abatement extension.

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

Verso requested an abatement of $469 million in value related to its paper mill. The company stated in its abatement the town received on Feb. 18 that the town’s assessed value of about $929 million, consisting of approximately $140.4 million in real property and $788.5 million in personal property, is too much.

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

Selectmen voted March 10 to hold a special town meeting on March 24. During the meeting, voters approved transferring $300,000 from the town’s undesignated fund to do a revaluation of Verso’s property.

Verso and Jay officials and attorneys met in early March to discuss the assessment. An agreement was drafted following the meeting.

According to a letter dated March 21 from Verso’s attorney Jonathan Block to the town’s attorney Stephen Langsdorf, the understanding was that in order to get the extension, the town would obtain, at its own expense, an independent, professional appraisal by a qualified appraiser of the Verso facilities located in the town of Jay as of April 1, 2013. Langsdorf signed the draft agreement on March 25.

Under the terms, the appraisal is to be completed and a copy provided to Verso no later than Oct. 15.

Verso agrees to cooperate with reasonable requests for access to the site and reasonable information requests from the town’s appraiser, the agreement states.

If the town’s appraiser needs to review confidential information, the appraiser would need to sign a confidentiality agreement similar to the one Langsdorf and town representatives have done.

Between Oct. 15 and Dec. 1, the town and Verso will negotiate in good faith to attempt to reach a settlement of the April 1, 2013, tax assessment. Negotiations could begin sooner if the appraisal is completed earlier.

If no settlement is reached by Dec. 1, Verso will proceed with the appeal process, according to Block’s letter.

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