Officials in Anson are continuing to consider a request from Madison Paper Industries for a reduction in the mill’s 2016 taxes, while officials in neighboring Madison have denied a similar request.

The mill, which laid off 215 employees when it closed in May, filed abatement requests in both towns last month, asking for a reduction in the amount of taxes owed.

The mill’s main facility is in downtown Madison, but the company also owns a hydropower facility and other property in Anson.

It asked for a reduction of $4 million in valuation in Anson — about one-fifth of the company’s assets there — as well as a $48 million reduction in valuation in Madison. That would reduce the amount of taxes the company contributes in Madison by about $1 million, from $1.5 million to about $520,000.

Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis said Tuesday the town’s board of assessors unanimously voted to deny the abatement request last week after hearing some concerns from the public about the situation.

“I think the general concern was there has already been a significant reduction in taxes if you go back to 2014, so I think the concern is the public doesn’t want to see any more steps that will require homeowners to bear any more of the burden,” Curtis said.

In 2014, the value of Madison Paper dropped by about $150 million from $229 million to $80 million. Taxes that year went up 11 percent, held steady in 2015 and then went up an additional 7 percent this year after the mill’s closure.

Russ Drechsel, president and CEO of Madison Paper, declined to comment on the abatement requests Tuesday, citing a silent period the company is under because of the upcoming release of financial information.

Tammy Murray, administrative assistant for the town of Anson, said the town has sent a letter to Madison Paper asking to meet with the company about its abatement request, but so far the town has not received a response. In the meantime, she said, no decision has been made on the request in Anson.

Curtis said Tuesday that he did not know whether Madison Paper plans to appeal the assessors’ decision in Madison. David Heidrich, director of legislative affairs and communications in the Commissioner’s Office of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said that to date Madison Paper has not filed an appeal with the Maine Board of Property Tax Review.

In the meantime, Curtis said Madison Paper has paid the first half of its 2016 taxes, which were due in September. The next payment is due in March and Curtis said it would be “hard to speculate” on the effect an appeal would have.

“Right now it’s in the hands of Madison Paper,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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