JAY — The Select Board on Tuesday approved an application to the state tax assessor requesting to lower the town’s valuation for 2022-23 because of the loss of value at Pixelle Specialty Solutions paper mill.

One of two wood pulp digesters ruptured at the paper mill on April 15, 2020. It led Pixelle to permanently idle one paper machine, layoff workers and cease making wood pulp. Pixelle continues to operate two specialty paper machines using purchased pulp.

The town will apply for a reduction in valuation through the state’s Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation Program. It allows for an immediate adjustment to the town’s state valuation, which affects the amount of money the town will receive for Regional School Unit 73 and state revenue-sharing.

It is the fourth time the town will apply to have its valuation lowered since 2016 because of a lower value of the mill and associated property. Three times the state has granted a valuation reduction.

If approved, the lower valuation will be reflected in the state’s revenue-sharing program as of July 1, 2022. It will affect the state education subsidy and Franklin County tax assessment in July 2023.

In 2020, the town’s base valuation was $596.67 million.

The valuation loss was as of April 1.

The town realized a loss in the town’s valuation base of $208.2 million from a single taxpayer due to an unforeseen sudden and severe event, according to the application.

Two professional appraisals commissioned before and after the event depict a loss in the mill’s value of $222.5 million.

“The Androscoggin Mill has clearly suffered a sudden and severe disruption in taxable value,” according to the application.

A lower state certified valuation would result in an higher state education subsidy for the town and more state revenue-sharing for the next fiscal year.

The valuation of the mill last year was $331 million; it’s $108.5 million for 2021-22. The taxable value of the mill real estate and personal property, after factoring in exemptions, is $86.5 million, the town’s assessing agent, Paul Binette, said in August. That does not include other property the company owns.

Selectpersons increased the property tax rate in August for 2021-22 by $3 from last year to make it $20.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is associated with the loss in valuation. In order to keep the rate increase to $3, the Select Board used $2.25 million from the town’s undesignated fund.

NOTE: The amount of money Jay Select Board used to offset tax rate is $2.25 million. It was incorrectly reported.


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