HAMPDEN, Maine — The town’s $7.8 million proposal for 2016-17 going before the Town Council on Monday night calls for a change in staffing, effective July 1, Town Manager Angus Jennings said last week in a news release.

Jennings said that the reorganization is meant to improve the level of services available from the town while containing personnel costs.

Among other things, the plan would restore a full-time town planner position that was not funded this year and eliminate the community and economic development director post held by Dean Bennett for the past eight years.

Support staff responsibilities also would change in order to provide greater administrative support to the public works director and finance director, Jennings said.

Jennings said the decision was not an easy one to make.

“As a manager, recommending the elimination of a position held by a current employee is one of the most difficult decisions I need to make,” he said. “Dean Bennett has worked hard during his eight-year tenure with the town of Hampden and has contributed substantially to many town success stories during that time.

Bennett resigned his position, effective June 30, and

has been working closely with the town to ensure a successful transition, Jennings said.

“With his next move, he will build on a 38-year career in economic development that has included, in addition to his work in Hampden, service to over 45 communities in Maine in the areas of economic development, zoning and comprehensive planning, exploring both the private and public sector,” he said.

Bennett said, “Hampden is a great community. I hope my contributions have set the stage for continued growth and expansion of the community and its tax base and I am confident Hampden will continue to prosper.”

During Town Council meetings regarding the proposed change, many local business owners expressed support for Bennett and extended their thanks for his work.

“The economic development position has made huge strides in changing the attitude and environment of the town government to a more business friendly and workable government for business,” said former Mayor Janet Hughes of Hughes Bros. Inc.

Among the initiatives Bennett played a key role in were improvements at the marina and the business park, the attraction of new businesses and a change in the town’s business environment, she said.

“Now, when a business steps foot in the town office, they are met with a group of people with a can-do attitude,” she said.

Ken White of F.A. Peabody Co. agreed.

“There have been some great strides made over the last number of years and there seems to be some momentum with business in Hampden. [Bennett] worked well as a liaison between the wants and needs of the business community.”

The budget proposal is set to go up for public hearing and adoption during a council meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday in the council chambers.