Governor Paul LePage and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais announced on Monday the next round of Maine cities and towns earning business-friendly status, including Lewiston and Auburn.
The communities were selected from a group of seven in the second round of the Governor’s business-friendly certification program.
“I want to thank and congratulate the communities of Pittsfield, Cumberland, Westbrook, Lewiston and Auburn for their continued commitment to business excellence,” said Governor LePage. “All of these communities are focused on creating a better environment for private sector job growth and driving our economy forward by reducing red tape and being open for business.”
“Governor LePage wants to see every Maine community succeed,” said Auburn Economic Development Director Roland Miller. “The Governor is recognizing those cities and towns that have put forward a significant effort in making government a good partner for business.”
Two communities, Pittsfield and Cumberland, are successful resubmissions from the first round of certifications. “We felt it was crucial to work with DECD to strengthen our application and provide additional information to meet the criteria,” said Pittsfield Town Manager Kathryn Ruth.
The process of being certified as a Business-Friendly Community is having a positive impact on those that pursue it. Soon after achieving certification in round one, Dave Milan, director of economic development for the Town of Bucksport said in an email to the Maine DECD: “I found that working my way through the application was a really great experience of reflecting on what we have done and where we should be spending those precious few available hours in the day in order to make our processes more accountable.”
All nominees were evaluated in several areas including customer service, business involvement and collaboration, public input as well as licensing and permitting. “Our commitment is to work with any city or town that wants to earn this designation, said DECD Commissioner George Gervais. “We want every city and town in Maine to be business-friendly.”
Each community was evaluated on an individual basis by a panel of business and economic development experts, including: Amy Downing, Maine State Chamber of Commerce; John Butera, Sr. Economic Advisor for Gov. LePage; Chris Steele, CWS Consulting Group; Chuck Graceffa, Pierce Atwood; George Gervais, DECD Commissioner; Peter DelGreco, Maine and Company; and Andrea Smith, DECD Office of Community Development.
Communities deemed business-friendly will be presented with a certificate, MaineDOT road sign and will become a key part of Maine’s business attraction strategy. Pittsfield, Cumberland, Westbrook, Lewiston and Auburn join the communities of Augusta, Bath, Biddeford, Brewer, Bucksport, Guilford, Lincoln, Saco and Sanford as communities that are taking a proactive business-friendly approach and partnering with business in order to help Maine prosper.