BUCKSPORT (AP) — Stunned workers say they’re going to be scrambling for work while local residents fear a huge tax increase when Verso’s Bucksport paper mill closes.

The announcement that the mill will close Dec. 1 came as surprise to workers, who said they had no idea such a move was being contemplated. Danny Carter, a 27-year employee, said workers and residents are “in awe.”

The mill employs 570 people and accounts for more than 40 percent of Bucksport’s budget.

The announcement came a week after Great Northern Paper filed for bankruptcy. Gov. Paul LePage says he’s going to do what he can to keep the Bucksport mill open.

Verso, which is merging with NewPage, said Bucksport mill is unprofitable. The combined company will continue to operate mills in Jay and Rumford.

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