The Skowhegan Board of Assessors on Thursday denied a request from Sappi Fine Paper North America to cut the property tax value of its paper mill on U.S. Route 201 by more than $137 million, which would have resulted in the loss of $2.3 million in revenue for the town. In a prepared statement Thursday, company officials said they appreciate the time and effort invested by Skowhegan officials, but they are disappointed by the board’s decision to deny the abatement request and will appeal the decision to the local Board of Property Tax Review. The vote was 3-0 and came after a recommendation by Skowhegan’s assessor’s agent Bill Van Tuinen to deny the request.
UPM Plywood’s Pellos mills have crossed a significant milestone of 10 million cubic meters in all-time total production. The achievement is unique in Europe and rare also in the world scale. The operation that began in 1964 as a small chipboard factory has expanded over the decades to comprise three plywood mills forming a world-class plywood production unit.
“Pellos mills are clearly one of our main production units. They account for about half of our total production capacity, and practically all of the spruce plywood production”, says Mika Kekki, Vice President, Production & Operations at UPM Plywood. “The competition in the coniferous plywood is very tough. Still, Pellos mills have managed to establish themselves as the leading supplier to the European market. This is thanks to the strong-minded development work and highly qualified personnel. In addition to technical development, working methods at the mills have been actively developed locally in co-operation with the staff, “continues Kekki.
UPM mills Pellos production efficiency has improved significantly over the past two decades. For example, the volume of production per hour worked has more than doubled. In recent years, special attention has been paid to improving safety at work. The number of accidents has fallen by more than 90% over the past five years.
Development of the safety, efficiency and working methods as well as the product quality will be a key part of securing the mill’s competitiveness also in the future. More than 90% of the Pellos mills’ production is exported. Pellos products compete in the international market, where the most serious competitors come from clearly lower-cost countries, especially from South America.