The state’s highest court ruled that the town of Madison had correctly valued a now-closed mill, settling a yearslong dispute between the mill’s owners and town officials.
In a decision filed Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a previous ruling from a lower court, which was appealed by Madison Paper Industries.
In March 2016, Madison Paper Industries notified town officials that its mill would cease operations the following May. The town valued the mill based on its operation on April 1, in line with municipalities statewide, and the mill was fully operational on that date.
The mill was valued at $72.3 million at the time, down from $229 million three years prior. But Madison Paper Industries “only wanted to pay on a value of roughly $25 million,” the Morning Sentinel reported.
The company’s valuation of the mill “was not credible for several reasons,” the court ruled, finding issues with the approach and conclusions of the evaluator, who was hired by Madison Paper Industries.
“It’s a relief more than anything else,” Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis told the newspaper. “This was the last appeal for Madison Paper, there is no more recourse for them to fight the 2016 valuation.”
The decision comes two months after the high court settled another yearslong dispute between Old Town and Expera Specialty Solutions, the former owner of the pulp mill in the city. Expera argued that the city assessed the mill’s taxable value at more than what the property was actually worth, seeking a property tax refund of close to $1 million that the city later rejected.