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March 31, 2016

Mill closure and town’s future a hot topic at Madison town hall

At a town hall-style meeting in Madison on Wednesday night that was dominated by comments about the announced May closure of the Madison Paper Industries mill, Gov. Paul LePage urged voters to elect candidates in Augusta who support the interests of paper mills.

Madison Paper Industries is the largest taxpayer in the town in addition to being one of its largest employers; a decline in the demand for supercalendered paper that the mill produces was cited as a reason by Madison Paper Industries for the closure.

"The last thing I want to see is UPM leaving," LePage told the audience gathered at Madison Area Junior High School, according to the Portland Press Herald. "If that meant going to Finland (where the company is based), I would get on a plane tomorrow."

LePage added that it's vital that communities and lawmakers work with businesses to keep them in the state, including the remaining paper mills. Among the ways to encourage the mills to stay, he said, is guaranteeing that they are assessed and taxed at appropriate rates.

In 2014, Madison lowered the assessment of the mill by approximately $150 million.

"It's important we sit down and try and work something out so people and their communities don't get devastated," said LePage.

Ultimately though, LePage said the town will need to find a way to reinvent itself and electing officials who support businesses is the best way to do it.

"I think Maine has a great future if you pay attention and when you go to the polls in November you elect people who are pro-business," LePage said.

Read more

Production ceases at Madison mill after nearly four decades

Lincoln and Old Town paper mills heading to auction

Workers 'blindsided' by Madison mill closure

Madison Paper mill shuttering in May

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