Meriturn Partners Tour Mills in East Millinocket and Millinocket
An investment firm based in California and North Carolina toured paper mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket Wednesday.Meriturn Partners has a tentative deal to buy the plants from the Katahdin Paper Company.The group met with unions, regulators and other parties.These meetings are being described as a chance to get to know the people and more detailed meetings are expected to follow next week.The agreement is subject to some conditions including arrangements to develop a biomass cogeneration facility at the Millinocket mill, a new collective agreement with unionized employees, environmental and commercial due diligence and agreements on property taxes with local municipalities. Chariman of the Board of Selectmen for East Millinocket, Mark Scally, says the property tax agreement is the biggest concern for them.He says that there is a debate for how much their mill is worth. Katahdin Paper claims that its worth the land its on at five million dollars, but they are taxed at 117 million dollars.Scally says that the taxes have been paid on that amount.He says that the state tax review board decides the town was incorrect, they would have to return 2.3 million dollars to the mill. “The town would have to return 2.3 million dollars to the mill. We don’t have that money, that would make a big difference. We would essentially have to cut almost all essential services and we would lose our school system. It will be disastrous for this town.”The group is set to meet with government officials in both Millinocket and East Millinocket Thursday. The companies have until April 29th to reach an agreement.