JAY — The state has lowered the town’s valuation by $201.1 million each for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, after the town filed for relief.

Shiloh LaFreniere, town manager of Jay. Sun Journal file photo

The lower valuation is attributed to a rupture of one of two pulp digesters on April 15, 2020, at Pixelle Specialty Solutions Androscoggin Mill. The blast idled a paper machine, which was subsequently shut down permanently, and the company made the decision not to rebuild its pulp mill in December 2020.

The Pennsylvania-based company operates two paper machines that make specialty paper at the Jay mill, mill spokesman Alan Ulman confirmed Thursday.

Jay filed for relief under the Maine Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation program last fall. It is the fourth time the state has lowered the town’s valuation since 2013 because of downsizing at the mill.

“Our community continues to adjust to the changes at the Pixelle Mill, which affect the taxable value, including the digester explosion in April of 2020,” Jay Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere wrote in an email. “We are thankful that the state of Maine has a program to recognize such events and the ability to adjust our municipality’s state valuation quickly. Recognition of the sudden and severe disruption by Maine Revenue Services will provide for additional state revenue-sharing and state education funding, which will help reduce some of the burden on our residents,” she wrote.

The adjusted valuation for 2019 is $347.85 million, 2020 is $347 million, 2021 is $388.1 million and 2022 is $415.1 million, according to a letter dated Feb. 2 from Deputy Director Steven J. Salley, supervisor of Municipal Services Property Tax Division


“Based on our view, the town has satisfactorily demonstrated in accordance (to state statute) that it has experienced a net reduction in equalized municipal valuation of at least 2% attributable” to the rupture of a digester, and subsequent permanent idling of paper machine A3 at the Pixelle Specialty Solutions Facility,” Salley wrote in a letter to Commissioner Pender Makin of the state Department of Education, which was copied to Town Manager LaFreniere.

The valuation of the mill in 2020-21 was $331 million and $108.5 million in 2021-22. The taxable value of the mill real estate and personal property, after factoring in exemptions, is $86.5 million, Paul Binette, the town’s assessing agent from John E. O’Donnell & Associates, said in August. That does not include other property the company owns.

The lower numbers will be used in calculating distribution of education funding for the next fiscal year.

The drop in valuation for the town will have an effect on the portion Livermore and Livermore Falls pay toward the Regional School Unit 73 budget, Kristal Flagg, business manager for the district, wrote in an email.

District officials and the board of directors will review the revenue figures at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, at Spruce Mountain Elementary School, she wrote.

The district serves Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls.

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