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March 21, 2014

FAME loan depends on Cate Street paying overdue taxes

The Finance Authority of Maine will require Cate Street Capital to pay nearly $3 million in past due property taxes to the towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket before it approves a $25 million loan guarantee for the company’s revised wood pellet mill project.

The Bangor Daily News reported Christopher Roney, general counsel for FAME, said Thursday that payment of Cate Street’s overdue $2.3 million tax bill in Millinocket and $657,900 bill in East Millinocket are a specific condition of the finance authority’s approval. Cate Street is the top taxpayer in both towns.

The newspaper reported Cate Street officials are scheduled to meet with Gov. Paul LePage today in Augusta, but a spokeswoman for the governor declined to say what is on the agenda.

FAME in October approved a $25 million loan guarantee to help finance Cate Street subsidiary Thermogen Industries’ planned $70 million torrefied wood plant in Millinocket. The company revised that plan earlier this month, seeking to build a $140 million steam-thermal pellet plant, which uses a different process for making wood pellets. That change restarted review of the October loan approval. FAME officials said they plan to review the company’s latest proposal at an April meeting.

Separately, Cate Street pushed lawmakers to consider a bill that would give it a share of power production revenues at nearby hydropower dams owned by Brookfield Asset Management. Lawmakers have since tabled the bill and the two parties said they have started discussing such a plan privately.

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