MADISON — Local school and town officials are scheduled to meet this week to discuss how an additional $585,000 received by the school district through emergency legislation earlier this year could be used in the future to offset the tax rate.

Madison is one of four communities around the state to benefit from L.D.1699, emergency legislation that provides a one-time redistribution of state education funds based on large drops in municipal valuation from a single business. The others are East Millinocket, Lincoln and Skowhegan. All are towns that have or formerly had a paper mill and have been affected by large losses in value at the mills.

Both Madison and Skowhegan approved the extra finances as part of their school budgets during the regular school budget process, but Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis said officials this week will discuss how the money could best be spent in 2017-2018.

During the school budget process, Madison voters designated the $585,000 as part of the district’s $1.1 million carryover account.

School Administrative District 59 Interim Superintendent Bonnie Levesque said Monday that the carryover is necessary in order to keep the district paying its yearly bills on time without an increase in cost to taxpayers and that it would be a “huge hardship” for the district without the extra funds. It also allowed the district to present residents with a less than one percent budget increase for 2016-2017, she said.

Town Manager Tim Curtis said Monday that while the money will remain in the carryover account for now, it could be used to offset how much money the town pays to the district next year.

Officials from the school district are scheduled to meet with members of the Madison Board of Assessors and selectmen this week, he said.

The town of Skowhegan also received a one-time payment of $194,564 under L.D. 1699 due to the loss in valuation at Sappi North America. After L.D.1699 was signed by the governor in April, the district school board included the funds in its 2016-2017 budget, said Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand.

“That (money) is already built into this year’s budget. It’s already impacting the tax bills that are coming out later this month,” Almand said Monday.

Rod Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, who sponsored L.D.1699, said that while the law provides one-time relief for communities impacted by drops in value at the state’s paper mills, it’s also something he hopes can be continued in new legislation next year.

“That would open the door for any town in the state to qualify,” Whittemore said. “It could be a paper mill, a textile mill, it could be any business that goes out of business or has a 4.5 percent or greater negative impact on tax revenue.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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