Equipment at shuttered Millinocket mill sold at auction

MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- It's been a day of mixed feelings for people who live in Mlillinocket as in order to secure its financial future, the town is now parting with pieces of its past.

Piece by piece parts of the old paper mill in Millinocket were sold at auction on Thursday. Among the items up for bid was the mill's iconic paper machine.

The company that manages the site says the sale is taking place for two reasons: to create space for a new pellet mill and to pay off more than $2 million in back taxes owed to the town. Town officials say they need the money to fend off even more financial hardship.

The auction ended around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Town officials say they calculated close to $1 million was made from the sale of extraneous equipment. They plan to discuss securing payment of the taxes on Friday.

Public safety workers in Lincoln frustrated by staff cuts

LINCOLN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The recent decision by leaders here to cut some municipal jobs has some town workers upset.

In passing the budget for the next fiscal year, town officials decided this week to lay off one firefighter and not fill a vacant job with the Lincoln police department. Several first responders who did not want to go on camera with NEWS CENTER on Wednesday said they were deeply concerned by the move.

Members of the firefighters union now say that, at times, they may to be down to having one only person at the station because of the layoffs. In response,town officials say the cuts are painful but necessary as they respond to the loss of hundreds of mill jobs in the region last winter.

Medway still trying to rectify school budget following shocking vote

MEDWAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Medway is still trying to sort through some controversy concerning its school budget.

Last week voters passed the budget at a town meeting and choose to allot just $1,000 to cover administrative costs.That includes the salaries of several school officials, including the superintendent.

On Monday night members of the Medway school board submitted a notice to town leaders asking them to reconsider the vote. This year the school district had asked for more than $197,000 to cover administrative fees. Its directors say the large cut now means the superintendent's office can't be funded and they say that violates state law.

The select board plans to take up the matter again Tuesday night.

Medway leaders aim to address shocking school budget vote

MEDWAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Schools in Medway are now facing a big challenge: how to pay their superintendent and other directors next year with a budget of only one-thousand dollars.

That amount is exactly how much town voters passed at a town meeting on Wednesday night. Medway schools will be going into the fall with a budget of more than $3 million. Officials say most of the expenses got approved but the administrative budget took a huge hit.

School directors asked for roughly $197,000. By a final vote of 21 to 17 from those in attendance, $1,000 dollars was all that was approved. Former town selectman John Farrington suggested the amount. He says the school district could find ways to lower its budget by using funds from last year. Farrington added that he only recommended $1,000 for the line item to prove a point.

Governor LePage takes Millinocket's concerns in tax dispute

MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- A war of words over unpaid taxes in Millinocket now has Governor LePage voicing concerns.

The governor met with leaders of the town on Wednesday to discuss problems they are having with Cate Street Capital. That company manages the site of the old Millinocket paper mill.

Town officials say Millinocket is owed millions in back taxes on equipment inside the complex and just last week community leaders decided they were through waiting. They placed a tax lien on the equipment, which means it can't be sold anywhere until the town gets paid.

Officials with Cate Street have said they need to auction off the equipment to make way for a new pellet mill to put on the site.The governor offered his thoughts on the situation at an event on Tuesday.

School budget could divide voters in East Millinocket


(NEWS CENTER) --- Voters in East Millinocket will have a big choice to make at the polls on Primary Day. Tuesday night the town decided to pass its school and municipal budgets. The problem is next year the area could have a lot less tax money to meet those costs.

Officials say the dilemma could cause property taxes in the town to go higher then they have ever been and for many retired people living in East Millinocket, higher taxes simply are not an option.

The school budget will be going before voters in a referendum on Tuesday. Several people in town say their goal will be to get the budget rejected.

This whole situation was brought on because of the uncertain future at Great Northern Paper. The mill halted production over the winter and right now its owners owe the town more than $650,000 in back taxes.

East Millinocket prepares to debate budget cuts at town meeting


(NEWS CENTER) --- East Millinocket voters will have to make some big budgeting decisions on Tuesday. Among them is how much to fund schools in the town going into next year.

East Millinocket may have to go into its next fiscal year with $700,000 less in tax dollars. That's because of the uncertain future of Great Northern Paper, which has been offline since the winter.

Town leaders say passing budgets without the money would mean a sharp rise in property taxes. Voters will have the choice to scale back the budgets at their town meeting on Tuesday. School administrators say they have already cut their expenses by about $250,000 and trimming any more will carry a real impact.