Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis will leave his position to become the administrator for Somerset County. Curtis is shown Wednesday at the Madison Town Office. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

MADISON — Town Manager Tim Curtis will leave the post he’s held for eight years to become the top administrator for Somerset County next month.

Curtis, a Madison native, came into the town manager role in 2015 after serving as the interim manager for a few months. He was previously an economic development consultant for the town.

Less than a year after he was named town manager, the town suffered a devastating blow when the Madison Paper Industries mill shuttered its operations. Since 1978 the mill had produced about 195,000 tons of paper annually that was used in magazine publishing.

When the mill closed about 215 people lost their jobs and the town lost 50% of its tax base, Curtis said.

He said the town is in much better shape after years of working toward economic renewal and diversifying the tax base.

He pointed to the recent return of wood products manufacturing at the former mill as proof. It’s now home to TimberHP, a division of Belfast-based GO Lab that bought the mill for $1.9 million in 2019.


Production started this spring on wood-fiber insulation meant for the residential and light commercial construction markets. TimberHP is looking to hire about 120 workers over the next few years and Curtis said 80 are already earning a wage.

“Madison was, and forever will be, a mill town,” he said. “(The mill) is operational now, it’s in a good place and it’s exciting.”

Curtis said in his new role he hopes to draw on his background in economic redevelopment to help revitalize a county known as the “second poorest in Maine,” he said.

Curtis’ last day in Madison is June 30 and his new duties begin July 10.

His largest responsibility will be carefully watching the county budget as any increases have a ripple effect and raise property taxes in towns across the region, he said.

Most of the county budget goes toward law enforcement and running the county jail, Curtis said. He is looking forward to working with Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster, who Curtis said encouraged him to apply for the administrator position when it opened up in the spring.


The job pays $95,000 a year, he said. As town manager Curtis earned $78,000 a year.

Madison officials said on the town’s website that they expect to fill the town manager position this summer with a proposed starting date in September. Mitchell Berkowitz will serve in the position in the interim, Curtis said.

“Mitch is a veteran, he’s been a town manager in Maine and New Hampshire for many years,” Curtis said.

The person ultimately named Madison’s manager will have to catch up on the development happening in Madison, Curtis said, and figure out how to continue to guide the town’s growth.

That person may also have to address a growing interest among the town’s 4,725 residents to reinstate a local police force, Curtis said. Since the Police Department was dissolved in 2015, Madison has relied on the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for coverage.

Although there was some tension in the last year between Curtis and selectmen over the departure of a couple town employees, Curtis said that he’s created a “good, positive work environment” over the years.

“I’d like to think (the next manager) will be taking over a pretty well-run operation,” Curtis said.

He will remain a resident of Madison as his professional duties change.

“I’m not going too far, I’ll still have an eye on what goes on in town,” Curtis said. “Besides, things that benefit Somerset County benefit Madison.”

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