Letter to the Editor: B&A Situation
February 01, 2003 - MILO
PO Box 163
Milo ME 04463-0163
February 2, 2003
To the Editor :
February 12, 2003 is a day that may make history for all Americans. "The shot heard Īround the world" was the beginning of our national journey to the honorable justice and freedoms of today. The twelfth of February can be the day our expressions of certain freedoms are turned against us with no less lethal effect than the planes that hit on 9-11-01. On February 12th attorneys for the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company will propose under Chapter 724 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code that priority for payment to these attorneys be moved ahead of payments of tax liens to municipalities and ahead of secured creditors. If not denied, this action will do irreparable harm to the very entities who have historically supported the company. If a precedent is set with this action the effect could be detrimental on a national scale. Once there is a precedent any corporation can evoke the precedent on its behalf leaving countless municipalities seriously damaged financially. The potential exists to use the withholding of tax payments in this manner to force a community into compliance with corporate demands or, in extreme cases, to force it out of existence.
During 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 property owners in the Town of Milo were assessed taxes at rates that increased to last years mil rate of twenty five dollars per thousand dollars of valuation. In all likelihood if payment from the B&A is not made the mil rate will be driven higher. During these years the corporate and private citizens of the town of Milo paid their shares and the share of the B&A to maintain our municipality and municipal services. The B&A continued to be fully supported by the existence of these municipal services and used them when needed for its corporate benefit. The price tag for the tie pile fire alone was about $ 70,000.00. There is no justice in recognizing this support with an action in bankruptcy court that allows the B&A to evade payment of their fair share of taxes. This is not an expression of honorable freedom.
When the Town of Milo was asked for a Credit Enhancement Agreement by the B&A the citizens of the town agreed to provide assistance knowing that for a specific amount of time and in a specific amount they would be depriving themselves of tax revenue. Legal and financial considerations aside, neighbors do still help neighbors here. Now our provision of relief to a stricken company, extended in good faith, is at risk of being unjustly turned on us with further legal action. These two citizens would rather see the $ 35,000.00 in question relevant to the CEA, and whatever more is required, paid to attorneys to represent us in court than to pay monies to an entity when we believe there is no legal basis.
The B&A has exercised its full rights as a corporate citizen of Milo, and it must accept its full share of responsibilities as well.
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas V. Warren, Sr.
NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.