Franklin Countys First News

Request for abatements on hydroelectric facilities withdrawn

JAY - The energy company that owns four hydroelectric generation facilities in Jay and two nearby towns has withdrawn a previously submitted round of abatement requests for the 2017 assessment.

In January 2016, Verso Corporation announced the sale of four facilities located predominately in three towns: Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls. The Riley station's valuation is mostly in Jay, with some acreage in Dixfield and Canton, while the Jay station is entirely in Jay. The Otis station is in Livermore, with some valuation in Jay, while the Livermore Station is in Livermore Falls, with some valuation in Livermore. Combined, the facilities generate roughly 142,000 megawatt hours in an average year.

All four facilities, which include slightly more than 44 acres of property, were sold to Eagle Creek Renewable Energy LLC for $62 million in 2016.

On Feb. 15, Eagle Creek submitted six tax abatement requests to Jay, requesting the 2017 assessments for the facilities' local value be lowered from $22.61 million down to $10.54 million. The combined impact of the new valuation would have been a loss of $570,000 in combined tax assessments spread mostly among Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls. Jay's potential loss relating to the abatement request was estimated at $271,000.

However, in a letter dated July 10 and addressed to Paul Binette, Jay's assessing agent, the law firm representing Eagle Creek indicated that the company would no longer be pursuing those abatement applications.

"By this this letter, and in recognition of the progress made on its BETR and BETE applications, Eagle Creek withdraws its tax abatement applications for each of the Riley, Jay, Otis and Livermore hydroelectric facilities," the letter reads.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said Thursday that Binette had been working with Eagle Creek on applications for the state's Business Equipment Tax Exemption and Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement programs. Eagle Creek had not been previously participating in those programs, which offer tax incentives to encourage capital investment.

LaFreniere said that meetings between town officials and Eagle Creek representatives in June had been helpful in "opening up the lines of communication."

"... We now have a very responsive contact at Eagle Creek and anticipate an effective working relationship with them in the future," LaFreniere said.

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