Leaders discuss Whiting Mill closure - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Community leaders, elected officials hold meeting to discuss Whiting Mill closure

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By Bonnie Shelton

VILLAGE OF WHITING (WAOW)--Workers are bracing themselves for the closing of NewPage's Whiting Mill at the end of February. That's why a planning group made up of community leaders and elected officials are meeting every two weeks to plan for the future.

State Representative for the 71st District Louis Molepske said the task is very challenging, especially with so many employees in need of help, "In some respects I've talked to some people who just want to vent their frustration saying, 'you know we've worked our whole lives and of no fault of our own...now I can't retire, now my plan is gone' and that's something that is going to be very hard to fix."

Workers who will lose their jobs in February are still waiting to see what their severance package will look like. Meanwhile, the community bands together to try and provide resources for workers and their families. That's why these people are working together, too.'

"This group consists of government people local resource people, NGOs, people who really want to make sure that the resources are there for people affected by this closing," said Molepske.

The Village of Whiting is facing a $120,000 dollar budget shortfall in 2012 because NewPage won't be paying the village utilities after the mill closes down.

According to village leaders, there's only one option to make up that shortfall: raise taxes. Either voters will increase taxes by referendum or it will be done at the state level by raising the tax levee.

State Senator Julie Lassa is working with the planning group to try and find help for Whiting.

Leaders described the mill's closing as having a ripple effect that will not only challenge the village of Whiting, but surrounding communities as well as other industries and the environment. Through meetings like this one, the group hopes to provide options.

For more information about the planning group or if you are a NewPage employee in need of assistance, click here.

 Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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