A volunteer economic development group that’s trying to revive Millinocket’s former paper mill site is continuing to challenge a federal tax lien that has hampered its efforts. The lien most recently dissuaded a North Carolina forest products company from launching a $30 million factory on the site.
The group, Our Katahdin, filed a third appeal of the $1.4 million tax lien with the Internal Revenue Service last Friday — although the ongoing federal government shutdown will delay the IRS’ consideration of that appeal.
Our Katahdin is also seeking a new, more accurate appraisal of the mill site’s property value and looking at other options for getting rid of the tax lien, which the group inherited two years ago when it bought the 1,400-acre site for $1. The previous owner of the mill, Cate Street Capital LLC, had created two subsidiary organizations that owed $1.4 million to the IRS.
Until that lien is resolved, the organization won’t be able to spend a much larger amount of funding — about $8.76 million — that it has lined up for improvements to the mill site, the group’s president’s, Sean DeWitt, said Wednesday morning.
“The challenge we have now is that $8.76 million can’t flow, none of it, until we resolve this lien,” said DeWitt, who was was addressing a crowd of more than 300 at the annual business breakfast of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. “So this is front and center for us here in 2019. It’s really holding the region back.”
DeWitt, a Millinocket native, was the keynote speaker at the breakfast, held at the Cross Insurance Center.