When the Dresden Town Office opens Tuesday, the reorganization of the town’s staff will be complete.

“Any time we’re open, we’ll be full-service,” said Michael Henderson, the town’s administrative assistant, who will take on the role of town administrator. “During the transition period, there might be slightly longer waits because we’re still training; but there will be no need to send people away, because we aren’t doing things on certain days.”

Henderson will be joined in the office on Gardiner Road by Susan Carver, who has been hired as town clerk, and Ann Pierce, who has been hired as the tax collector. Their hiring was announced earlier this week at Dresden’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

Pierce is currently the elected tax collector. The current town clerk, whose term is ending, is Shirley Storkson.

Starting next week, the Town Office will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of the month. The office will be closed every Sunday and Monday.

And starting July 9, the selectmen will meet every other Tuesday at Pownalborough Hall, on Patterson Road.

“I think it’s going to be good,” Third Selectman Allen Moeller said. “We had 17 applicants. Some wanted the treasurer job, which is 30 hours. And some wanted to work the 25-hour job, part time. It’s going to be better for the town.”

These changes come as the result of months of planning, hearings and a special town meeting.

Moeller said he had pursued this kind of reorganization plan starting three years ago, but it failed to gain traction that year and every year since since, until about 10 months ago.

Michael Henderson poses for a portrait Wednesday at the Dresden Town Office. Henderson, who has been the town’s administrative assistant, will officially become town administrator Tuesday. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Last summer, complaints by residents about the service they were receiving at the Town Office and not being able to complete all their business in one trip prompted discussion about the merits of appointing a town clerk and tax collector rather than electing them, as Dresden and a number of small communities in Maine have done.

The reorganization plan that came from conversations at meetings of the Board of Selectmen has created a town administrator position, which also includes the duties of the town’s fiscal officer. The duties of the town clerk and tax collector overlap more than they have in registering motor vehicles and boats, and issuing marriage licenses, and birth and death certificates, among other things. The town clerk’s duties encompass running town elections, filing reports with the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and maintaining the public record. The tax collector files required excise tax reports with the state, sends out tax bills and files liens.

The final step was the vote at the June 15 Town Meeting, when residents voted to approve funding salary and benefits for the positions.

Moeller said he can’t recall if anyone was opposed to the plan then. By that point, town officials had conducted several public hearings to explain the proposal, he said, and residents understood what was going on.

“Everything is done,” Henderson said. “We start on July 2 and go from there.”

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