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Dunphy calls on Legislature to protect Old Town taxpayers

Lawmaker seeks to prevent valuation crisis following recent mill closure

March 28, 2016

AUGUSTA – A joint order from Rep. Michelle Dunphy would require lawmakers to consider how to respond to the valuation crisis Old Town faces in the wake of the Expera mill closure.

“The workers affected by the mill closure, their families and their neighbors are already facing extraordinary challenges without a spike in property taxes. That’s what we face unless lawmakers address the way state funding for our schools and local services is calculated under these circumstances,” said Dunphy, D-Old Town.

Under current law, the valuation used to determine state aid for education and other state funding may not reflect the sudden, dramatic devaluation caused by the closure of the mill. Dunphy wants to ensure Old Town property taxpayers receive fair treatment in state aid calculations.

“We can’t wait until next year to act,” said Dunphy. “The Legislature needs to put a solution forward this session. The people of our community are counting on lawmakers to ensure state funding is calculated fairly.”

Expera closed the facility at the end of 2015, affecting nearly 200 workers. The mill and its assets were sold in January to the same out-of-state company that bought the former Lincoln Paper and Tissue Co.

Dunphy’s joint order would require the Legislature’s Taxation Committee to craft the bill to address the drastic change in valuation caused by the mill’s closure. The order now faces action in the Senate.

Dunphy is serving her first term in the Maine House. She represents Old Town and Penobscot Indian Island.

Contact:

Ann Kim [Dunphy], 233-1838