LINCOLN, Maine — Fears about the impact of Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed state budget and a desire to keep local taxes low will prevent town leaders from hiring to fill the town’s open code enforcement officer’s position, officials said Thursday.
At interim Town Manager William Lawrence’s direction, town Economic Development Assistant Ruth Birtz will fill in for the departed Dan Whittier, who took a position earlier this month working for Maine Municipal Association, Lawrence said.
“It is an advancement in Dan’s professional career. It is better pay, benefits, all of the above, so we feel good for Dan. We are happy that he got such a good opportunity,” Birtz said Thursday.
Birtz will handle all of Whittier’s duties with assistance from Amanda Woodard, the town’s community events coordinator, as Woodard earns all the appropriate code enforcement requirements, Birtz said.
That process should take up to a year. Woodard has begun cross-training, Birtz said.
A downturn in permit applications will make the change more palatable, Birtz said.
“Since the new [state] building codes emerged, we’ve not been as busy. People are very hesitant to do additions and such because of the requirements they have to meet,” Birtz said.
Lincoln issued 515 permits in 2011 and 285 permits last year, Birtz said.