JAY — Verso Androscoggin is requesting the town issue a tax abatement for the April 1, 2014, tax year for a reduction of at least $193.78 million in valuation. Verso’s abatement application states the mill and properties should be valued no higher than $400 million.

It is the second year in a row that the company has sought a tax abatement.

Verso filed an application for a tax abatement for the April 1, 2013, tax year in February 2014 to have the value of its mill reduced by $469 million. At the time, the company believed the mill and properties should have been valued at $460 million, based on an appraisal the company had done.

Jay subsequently had a revaluation done and came up with a valuation of $717 million before tax exemptions were applied.

Selectpersons, who are also assessors, voted on Jan. 6 to grant Verso an abatement of $829,258 and reduced the value of the mill and properties from $815.4 million to $591.9 million for 2013, factoring in tax exemptions.

Verso appealed the 2013 abatement in late January, stating the town’s abatement was wrong and unlawful. It claimed the town used a higher rate of taxation — $17.51 per $1,000 of property valuation — than the rest of the taxpayers in the town of Jay, who paid $14 per $1,000 of valuation in 2013.

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The town’s Board of Assessment has set a public hearing on the company’s appeal of the 2013 abatement for 3:30 p.m. March 19 at the Town Office. The town and the mill will present their cases at that time.

Verso’s abatement application the town received Tuesday for the 2014 tax year says the total assessed value is $593.78 million, consisting of real property with an assessed value of $179.1 million and personal property with an assessed value of about $414.6 million.

Verso claims the assessments are “manifestly wrong” and the property is substantially overvalued. The company believes the property’s assessment should be no higher than $4 million, according to a letter attached to the application.

It also says, “in computing assessments, the assessor discriminated against certain classes of property, by, for example, disproportionately and arbitrarily reducing the value of property located within tax-increment financing districts to benefit the town and inflate the taxes allegedly due from Verso.”

The town decreased the value of the mill and property prior to selectpersons setting the 2014-15 tax rate last year.

It was about a 27 percent decrease, town assessing agent Paul Binette said then.

“Due to the pending appeal with the Board of Assessment Review and the ongoing discussions between the town and the mill, I cannot comment on the abatement request at this time,” Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said Friday.

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