MILLINOCKET, Maine — The auctioneer trying to settle Great Northern Paper Co.’s $1.18 million net tax debt wired $96,417 to the town on Friday morning, officials said.
Koster Industries’ latest payment leaves $657,770 owed to the town, not counting the per day interest charge of $467.02 due until “payment is made in full,” Town Manager Peggy Daigle said.
Koster paid $225,000 on July 3, $133,500 on July 18, $76,650 on July 24 and $96,417 on Friday, Daigle said.
Great Northern, the town’s top taxpayer, hired Koster Industries to auction GNP equipment from its Katahdin Avenue industrial site on June 17 to pay taxes owed to Millinocket and the Internal Revenue Service.
The auction apparently came in response to IRS and town liens on the equipment.
Koster officials originally hoped to finish paying the debt by July 21, but told town leaders a few weeks after the auction that collecting money from the auction participants has been much more difficult than they expected.
The nonpayments are among a series of setbacks for Great Northern since it came into the region in 2011.
Town leaders have said that they have been diligent in protecting the town’s interests with Great Northern and Koster, while also recognizing that a plan to build a $140 million pellet mill in Millinocket by one of Great Northern manager Cate Street Capital’s other companies, Thermogen Industries, holds great economic potential for the area and state if it ever launches.
Council members said on July 22 that they expect to begin pursuing their legal strategy for collecting the money GNP owes in about two weeks.
As of Friday, interest alone on the debt had accumulated to $4,670.20 from July 21.