November 19, 2013

Farmington denied state certification of “business friendly”

Town officials plan to fix problems and re-apply to the economic program.

By Kaitlin Schroeder
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — Selectmen will be re-applying for state certification as business friendly after being initially denied by the program.

Certified Business Friendly Communities

Auburn, Augusta, Bath, Belfast, Biddeford, Brewer, Bucksport, Caribou, Cumberland, Ellsworth, Fairfield, Guilford, Hermon, Kennebunk, Lewiston, Lincoln, Pittsfield, Poland, Presque Isle, Richmond, Saco, Sanford, South Portland, Topsham, and Westbrook.

Source: Maine Department of Economic Development

The two-year-old Certified Business Friendly Community Program is a state designation intended to identify and promote communities that show a commitment to businesses development.

Towns granted the title are given two Certified Business Friendly signs, rights to add a Certified Business Friendly logo on official community correspondence, and are promoted on the Department of Economic Development website.

Farmington was one of three towns to apply for certification in the fifth round of applications for the program. Poland was granted the certification while Wells was denied.

Town Manager Richard Davis said he and Cindy Gelinas, town planning assistant, will meet with members of the government program to find out what the specific problems were.

He said the town was disappointed by the rejection, and they are hoping to get more insight on what they considered to be vague feedback on the application rejection letter. The letter included reasons like “No ‘time is money’ examples” that left town officials confused on what the review committee wants.

“I’m curious to find what are the specifics that we can improve,” Davis said.

Doug Ray, spokesman for the Maine Department of Economic Development, said the committee that reviewed Farmington’s application wanted to read more demonstrations of the town’s commitment to businesses.

“In a nutshell, I think the committee felt the application lacked specific examples,” he said.

Ray said the program will be working with the town to help them with another application.

He said municipalities often are initially denied but are eventually certified. He said Pittsfield, one of the few other central Maine communities to be certified, was one of the towns that were denied on its initial application.

Ray said the town is an example of ways the certification helps communities, when Pittsfield town officials recently told the department they were contacted by a business that was interested in the community because it was certified as business friendly.

“And that’s what its all about,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder —
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