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EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- East Millinocket rejected the proposed school budget Thursday that would have drastically risen property taxes.

The town was once had a thriving economy, but with changes in the paper industry, the budget has been stretched thin. The school budget is projected to be about $4 million for the upcoming school year. The proposed budget would have increased property taxes by 40 percent to generate about $1.2 million. That would have supported Opal Myrick Elementary and Schenck High School.

"There is still some fluff in that budget. I know they said they reduced it and they are bare bones, but it's like a shuffle game that takes place," said Charles Power, resident of East Millinocket.

School officials did cut the budget by about $220,000 after the previous budget was rejected. They have said programs will suffer if they make additional cuts. Of those who voted, 264 voted no and 112 voted yes.

The closing of the paper mill in town has contributed to the town's financial plight. Great Northern Paper still owes the town $700,000 in back taxes.

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