January 21, 2020

East Millinocket residents to consider ratifying tax deal with Great Northern

EAST MILLINOCKET — In a special town meeting tonight, residents will consid settle a tax dispute between the town and Great Northern Paper Co.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the municipal building.

On Nov. 8, residents authorized selectmen to enter into the agreement by a vote of 689-385.

By ratifying the results of the Nov. 8 vote, officials said, the town would not have to spend money for legal fees to get a court decision, should anyone challenge the Nov. 8 vote in the future.

If residents do not ratify the Nov. 8 election results on Tuesday, officials said, it would mean more costs for the town, which would have to get a court decision affirming the Nov. 8 referendum vote was legal.

Opposing ratification of the Nov. 8 referendum vote would not change that vote, or stop the town from entering into the agreement. “A `no’ vote would hold up the process,” said Administrative Assistant Judy Doore.

Residents will consider three other items related to the agreement. One is to transfer the unexpended balance in the tax dispute defense fund to surplus. The unexpended balance of the $200,000 raised in a special town meeting earlier this year is $113,324.

Another item is rescinding action taken at the May town meeting where residents voted to apply all surplus in excess of $500,000 to reduce the 1994 tax commitment and then, residents will consider authorizing selectmen to apply any surplus in excess of $100,000 to reduce the 1994 tax commitment.

In order for the town to meet the terms of the tax dispute agreement, it must apply most of its surplus toward the already approved town and school budgets to meet the $4 million cap.

Also, residents will consider a zoning change for a parcel of property located at 17 Main St. Currently, the property is zoned for residential use and is used as a funeral home. A potential buyer of the property plans to use it as a flower shop, which requires it be zoned for commercial use.

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