MADISON — Town officials are preparing for a loss in tax revenues from Madison Paper Industries and an adjoining business after the mill’s announcement it will close at the end of the month.

Specialty Minerals Inc., which produces calcium carbonate for the paper-making process on-site at the mill, will also be leaving Madison after the mill ceases operations the week of May 23, according to town and mill officials.

The Bethlehem, Pa., based company operates out of more than 60 paper mills worldwide, according to the company’s website. Its Madison facility includes personal property currently assessed at $4.5 million and has requested that its 2016 valuation be reduced to $184,006, according to Shirley Bartlett, assistant to the board of assessors.

“It’s an example of how complicated the closure of the mill really is,” said Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis. “This is a business that wouldn’t even be here if not for Madison Paper.”

Specialty Minerals currently pays about $60,000 in personal property taxes to the town annually, so if the business dismantles as it has told town officials it plans to do, the town stands to lose about that much money each year in tax revenue, Curtis said.

Alain Bertrand, plant manager for Specialty Minerals in Madison, did not return a call seeking comment Monday.


Madison Paper saw a drop in tax value of $150 million in 2014 that the town is still recovering from, and while the company has not requested a new valuation, Madison Paper Industries President and CEO Russ Drechsel told the Morning Sentinel last week that the value of the mill has dropped since the announcement it would close. He said Monday that parent company UPM-Kymmene Corp. is continuing to look for a buyer for the mill and its hydropower assets.

Meanwhile the board of assessors is considering a revaluation of the mill.

“We don’t really know at this point (what will happen with the mill in the future),” said Chairman of the Madison Board of Assessors Al Veneziano. “Will it continue to make paper? Will it just be the hydro power? Will it be a grassy field?”

Drechsel said last week that interest has been expressed in purchasing hydropower and hydropower assets. “I can’t say the same about a lot of people expressing an interest in continuing any papermaking operations at Madison,” he said. “There have been several, but not as great in number as the other two.”

Specialty Minerals is a separate business and employs about five people, according to Drechsel. The mill employs about 215 additional workers, all of whom will be laid off during the closure.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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