SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen this week agreed to spend $150,000 to hire a professional appraising company to assess the value of the Sappi Fine Paper Co. mill as the town and mill owner continue to fight over the property’s assessed worth for tax purposes.

MR Valuation Consulting LLC, with U.S. offices in New York, New Jersey and Florida, will begin the job in the coming weeks. At stake is about $137 million in valuation for taxes – the town of Skowhegan has assessed the paper mill at $463,630,900. The company claims the property should be taxed at a value of $326,343,426.

The Skowhegan Board of Assessors denied Sappi’s request in April to reduce the tax assessment on the mill on Route 201 by more than $137 million. Granting the abatement would have resulted in the loss of $2.3 million in tax revenue for the town. Sappi’s appeal to the town’s Board of Assessment Review also was denied.

The paper company later filed an appeal of that ruling with the Maine Board of Property Tax Review.

“The state board could agree that they’ve been properly taxed; the state board could agree with their value, or they could agree with something in the middle,” Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand said. The process could take another year to reach a conclusion, she said.

If the company prevails in its appeal, the town would have to refund some or all of the property taxes the company paid in 2014.

Sappi filed a formal property tax abatement application last March with the town’s Board of Assessors, asking that the town lower its property valuation.

The request, filed by S.D. Warren Co., a subsidiary of Sappi and the legal owner of the property, followed months of negotiations between the town and the mill that had already resulted in a $100 million cut in the tax valuation of the mill.

Sappi claimed that reduction was not enough to reflect the mill’s actual diminished value. Sappi paid $9.3 million in property taxes to the town in 2014.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected]