Media Archive

B&A resolution back on track

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 30, July 23, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

Milo sets flat tax rate

MILO Selectman signed a tax settlement agreement with the now-bankrupt Bangor & Aroostook Railroad last week, and agreed to go to town meeting for voters approval on a loan to pay a late school bill.

Town Manager Jane Jones presented the settlement to the board of selectmen July 15 for final approval.

The settlement with Milo, Brownville and 16 other Maine towns went through several revisions, under the critical eyes of attorneys representing all parties, Jones said. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Haines of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland will hear the settlement agreement Wednesday, July 23, she said.

As long as no other parties disagree with the settlement agreement, Jones said that it will be official.

The settlement agreement requires bankruptcy trustee James Howard of Boston pay the 18 towns a total of $452,368 owed in back taxes. Milo will receive approximately $200,000 of the $300,000 owed through fiscal years 1999 to 2002.

Brownville will receive about $40,000 in the settlement.

When the checks will arrive depends on whether or not any debtors dispute the settlement agreement in court, Jones said.

Jones said the settlement agreement also dissolves the town's tax increment financing and credit enhancement agreement with the former B&A. She said the trustee had initially attempted to pass the agreement onto the railroad's new operators, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railroad.

Selectmen also agreed to set a special town meeting to borrow an additional $300,000 in tax anticipation notes to catch up on school payments to SAD 41. The town is about three months behind on its school bill, currently, amounting to about $225,000.

Jones said no date for the meeting has been set yet.

The board set the tax commitment for 2003-04 at the same rate as last year $24.85 per $1,000 valuation.

Jones said the tax rate does not include any overlay, which would have brought the rate up to $25.50 while, at the same time, building the town's fund balance.

"It would be good to go to $25.50, but people are struggling to pay even at $24.85," Jones said.

She said the town will need to re-evaluate its financial situation, and set a long-term goal on rebuilding the fund balance, once the B&A settlement is finalized.

Tax bills will go out shortly, and will be due by Oct. 31, with 7 per-cent interest due on late taxes.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.