EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The problems keep mounting for Great Northern Paper, which this week announced it is laying off more than 200 workers. Among the mill's problems are high production costs and mounting debt.
The news of the layoffs came just hours before the East Millinocket selectmen were to meet to talk about the town's already strapped budget. Great Northern owes East Millinocket more than $650,000 and neighboring Millinocket $2.2 million.
Chairman Gary Macleod of East Millinocket said, "right at this point right now, the town-- we have frozen our budgets at this point right now and we are going to sit down and look at this year's budget and we may have to do some cutting."
Great Northern Paper also owes their major suppliers.
Scott Tranchemontagne with GNP said, "We do have some payables that we need to address and we have been working day in and day out with those that we do owe money to, working on payment plans."
Tranchemontagne could not give an approximate total amount of debt. He did mention the difficulty of making payments to those accounts when the mill has halted production.
According to the spokesman, the mill will still be working on the sixteen week plan it set up when they halted production. During this period they will reevaluate costs to make the mill profitable.
As for East Millinocket, MacLeod tells us the selectmen remain optimistic, but will be preparing for the worst if the mill does enter a total shutdown.