MILLINOCKET, Maine — The auctioneer hired by Great Northern Paper did not pay Millinocket the $340,000 in property taxes GNP owed Tuesday as part of a payment-by-installment plan, Town Manager Peggy Daigle said.
As of 6 p.m., the town had not received the second payment of four promised by the July 3 agreement among the town, Great Northern and auctioneer Koster Industries, Daigle said.
Daigle said she was not especially concerned. She attributed the delay to the town’s bank being closed at 4 p.m. and expected that the money would arrive within 24 hours.
“We should know tomorrow morning,” Daigle said Tuesday. “It’s coming from Koster. I am not as worried about that as I would be” if it were Great Northern sending the check.
Besides the $225,000 payment received shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday and the $340,000 expected Tuesday, a $360,000 payment is scheduled for July 14 and the remainder of the $1.18 million in net property taxes GNP owes are called for on July 21 as specified by the plan the Town Council voted 5-2 to accept on July 3, officials have said.
Councilors opted for the payment plan in an attempt to speed up the payment process. The town’s largest taxpayer, Great Northern owns paper mills in East Millinocket and Millinocket and has owed Millinocket $2.17 million in gross overdue property taxes since April. An additional $106,000 in interest — or $467 per day in interest — and $10 in fees has been added.
Great Northern hired Koster to hold an auction on June 17 to pay the Internal Revenue Service and Millinocket after both had placed personal property liens on the company’s papermaking equipment at its Katahdin Avenue industrial park.
Millinocket placed nine liens on Great Northern real estate holdings in town on July 3 to recoup $12,585 in overdue real estate taxes. No payment plan has been established for that debt.
Great Northern officials have said that they remain committed to launching a $140 million pellet mill in Millinocket and restarting the East Millinocket paper mill this fall.