OLD TOWN – The State Board of Property Tax Review finally will once again look at the tax dispute between the former owner of the mill and the city later this month.
ND Paper LLC bought the mill last fall from Old Town Holdings LLC, which purchased the property the previous winter. For roughly three years prior to that, it was owned by MFGR, which bought it after Expera abruptly closed the mill late in the summer of 2015.
Expera, had bought the mill at a bankruptcy sale in 2014 before closing and selling the property within two years. During that short time, however, Expera sought a huge reduction in its 2014 and 2015 taxes for the mill, claiming the property was only worth about 20 percent of the city’s assessed value. That led to the taxes being appealed, and hearings before The State Board of Property Tax Review; those hearings were held in 2016, with deliberations wrapping up in the winter of 2017.
At that time the board agreed an adjustment was needed for 2014 taxes, although nowhere nearly the amount sought by Expera. That decision said the city needed to make an additional tax refund to Expera for tax year 2014, of approximately $50,000; had the board ruled entirely in Expera’s favor, the city could have been out $600,000.
The board issued the written version of its decision in May 2017, but Emera filed a last minute appeal, sending the case to Maine Superior Court Justice William Anderson, who didn’t hear arguments for nearly a year; after reviewing the case Anderson sent it back to the board for review, concluding that assessments of the mill were manifestly wrong, that Expera had demonstrated in court proceedings that the property was overvalued in 2014 and 2015, and that the State Board of Property Tax Review had not given enough weight to the sale price of the mill to and by Expera in its deliberations.
That ruling by Anderson came last August; the Board of Property Tax review, however, meets sporadically, and only recently scheduled renewed deliberations on the appeal. According to a Board staffer, those deliberations will be held on July 19, with plans being for the Board to issue its new findings the same day.
A ruling that in its entirety favors Expera would sting the city, but with the mill to be operating again soon – and million of dollars worth of investments planned – it would not be as painful as it would have been in the recent past.


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