June 25, 2018
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Millinocket council to set TIF, taxes for potential mills buyer

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Town leaders hope to meet in special session on Wednesday to set a new tax incentive agreement and property taxes for a possible buyer of the two Katahdin region paper mills, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said Tuesday.

Details on the tax-increment financing deal and Cate Street Capital of New Hampshire’s level of taxation should the company succeed in its plans to buy the Katahdin Avenue paper mill were not available.

“We are waiting for the revised documentation to get back from our attorneys for our review,” Conlogue said Tuesday.

The Town Council meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Conlogue recommended in an email he sent to councilors on Tuesday that they cancel the meeting if the attorneys do not return the documents to him by noon Wednesday. If the meeting is canceled, councilors could discuss the tax deal with Cate at their meeting on Sept. 13, Conlogue said.

A tax incentive program for economic development available to all Maine local governments, a TIF permits a municipality to use some or all of the new property taxes that result from an investment project within a designated district to assist in that project’s expenses and also generate economic development funds for the municipality.

Gov. Paul LePage’s office announced on Aug. 30 that Cate Street had signed an asset purchase agreement for the mills for an undisclosed price. The closure of the deal could come as early as mid-September, state officials said.

State officials are hopeful that as many as 500 workers eventually could be employed in East Millinocket and Millinocket. As many as 200 East Millinocket papermakers could return to work as early as mid-October. Market conditions and the Millinocket mill’s state of readiness will determine when that mill might restart, officials said.

East Millinocket’s Board of Selectmen met Tuesday morning and to discuss setting a property tax agreement with Cate Street for the paper mill there. Details of that meeting were not immediately available.

Mark Scally, chairman of East Millinocket’s Board of Selectmen, has said that town leaders could set a tentative tax agreement with Cate Street, which would go into effect if a deal occurs, as early as Friday. He and town Administrative Assistant Shirley Tapley did not return telephone calls seeking comment on Tuesday.

Cate Street officials said they have about 30 days to meet several conditions for the deal to proceed. They and state economic development officials have warned that meeting the many conditions, which include tax deals and union contracts, would be challenging and call for sacrifices.

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