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March 6, 2019

Twin Rivers appeals Madawaska’s denial of $100M abatement request

Twin Rivers Paper Co. has filed an appeal with the state challenging Madawaska’s denial of a $100 million abatement request on its assessed valuation.

Fiddlehead Focus reported in February that Twin Rivers, which is headquartered in Madawaska, requested the abatement in January, telling the town that its $178 million valuation for the Twin Rivers mill property was “substantially overvalued.” Twin Rivers stated in its abatement application that its mill property had “a just value of no more than $72 million as of April 1, 2018.”

Twin Rivers is an integrated specialty paper company that produces specialty packaging, label, publishing, technical specialty papers as well as dimensional lumber.

The Aroostook County newspaper reported that Twin Rivers stated the town’s assessment of the mill property was 92% higher than the previous year’s valuation when it paid $1.88 million in taxes. Under the current assessment, the mill would pay about $1.7 million more in taxes this year, the newspaper reported.

The town denied Twin Rivers’ $100 million abatement request on its 2018 tax assessment on Feb. 11.

On Tuesday, Fiddlehead Focus reported that Twin Rivers filed an appeal of the town’s denial Monday with the Maine State Board of Property Tax Review — which, if granted, would lower its 2018 tax bill in Madawaska by $1.5 million.

In October taxpayers approved a $6 million municipal budget, according to the Fiddlehead Focus.

The newspaper reported that Twin Rivers Paper Co. CEO Ken Winterhalter said that the “town leaders made it clear they were done talking when they presented us with a tax bill of more than double what Twin Rivers paid for 2017,” based on an appraisal he described as “grossly inflated.”

Winterhalter, who had served as Twin Rivers president since 2013, just became CEO on March 1, according to a company news release

New CEO named March 1

Winterhalter succeeds Bob Snyder, who was named chairman of the board.

The company said the new roles for Winterhalter and Snyder are part of a long-term growth and succession plan established by Twin Rivers’ management. Prior to joining Twin Rivers, Winterhalter’s decades of experience included serving as president and CEO of National Envelope and as president of Unisource.

In its March 1 news release, Twin Rivers noted that since 2013, when the company was purchased by Atlas Holdings and Blue Wolf Capital Partners, “while several paper companies across Maine — and throughout the country — have struggled to meet new challenges and evolve, Twin Rivers continues not only to survive but thrive.”

The company stated that it has more than 1,000 employees working at its six paper mills, two pulp mills, a sawmill and a co-generation plant in the United States and Canada.

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