MADISON — The closure of Madison Paper Industries has complicated the calculation of the tax rate in Madison, according to town officials who on Monday delayed setting the 2016 tax rate in order to take more time to go over valuation numbers.

Town Manager Tim Curtis and Tax Assessor Shirley Bartlett told the board Monday night that they are still working to finalize valuation numbers, including personal property at Madison Paper and figures for other large accounts, after which the board voted unanimously to table setting the tax rate until next Monday, the 29th, at 4 p.m.

Prior to the start of the meeting, Curtis said that the May closure of Madison Paper “is by far the largest factor” complicating the calculation of this year’s tax rate, which has held at $19.50 per $1,000 of value for the last two years.

Before that, a loss in value of $150 million at Madison Paper in 2014 resulted in an 11 percent tax increase.

With no plans announced for the future of the mill, town officials are having a hard time predicting how much they should pay in taxes in the future, Curtis said.

“I think the impact is going to be over two years to really figure it out,” he said. “If we knew for sure that they had sold it to another paper-making facility or if we knew for sure they were going to scrap it and tear down all the buildings, that would make a difference. But the fact of the matter is we don’t know.”

President and CEO of Madison Paper Russ Drechsel said Monday that the company is “continuing to go through the sales process.”

“We will not be operating the mill and our intent since March has always been to sell the hydro (power facility) and paper-making assets, and we’re still progressing along those lines,” Drechsel said.

He would not comment when asked if a specific buyer has been identified.

Madison Paper is currently assessed at $80 million and pays about $1.56 million in taxes. In May, Specialty Minerals Inc., a company that was producing chemicals for the paper-making process on site in Madison, asked that the town lower its valuation since it would be removing personal property from the site, but on Monday Curtis said the company’s buildings and equipment remained at the mill.

Drechsel has said in the past that the value of the mill has dropped since the closure was announced, but said Monday he is not sure whether the company would be asking for another revaluation since the 2014 one.

Meanwhile, Madison Paper has seen a 25 percent increase in its tax bill on assets in Anson — a landfill and hydropower facility, he said.

“A paper machine when it’s making paper is worth so much, and when it’s not making paper it’s worth less,” Curtis said. “That’s what we have to adjust for is that loss in value.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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