DECD Names Richmond and Presque Isle as the State's Newest "Certified Business-Friendly Communities"

Media contact: Drew Morris drew.morris@maine.gov

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development today named the City of Presque Isle and the Town of Richmond as the latest "Certified Business-Friendly Communities."

To be certified "business-friendly," multiple areas of criteria are considered, including customer service, business involvement and collaboration, input from the public, and licensing and permitting.

"I applaud every effort taken by Presque Isle and Richmond to make doing business there easier and more efficient for job creators," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "And I hope this certification will remind each municipality to ask itself, 'Will this action or initiative we're about to undertake make us more business friendly?' This is the kind of proactive approach Maine needs to attract and retain businesses."

A team of public and private economic development experts reviews each application to determine eligibility in the program. Both Presque Isle and Richmond first applied for certification in 2012 and were successful with their reapplication this year.

Some business-friendly initiatives the review committee highlighted for Presque Isle included: • The city's steps to stabilize and reduce its tax rate. • Its authorization of the planning committee to guide and encourage community and economic development. • Presque Isle's recognition that "time is money" through its Site Design Review Process. • The city's focus on revitalizing its downtown through the "Get Down to Business in Downtown Presque Isle" initiative.

Some business-friendly initiatives the review committee highlighted for Richmond included: • The town's active membership and participation in the Southern Midcoast Chamber of Commerce. • Its collaboration with local businesses to produce a business resource guide. • The town's successful utilization of local, state and federal programs resulting in significant investments into public infrastructure and downtown revitalization.

"Through the efforts of the Governor and, more importantly, the continued hard work and dedication by our communities on behalf of businesses to grow and thrive, Maine continues to rise in the ranks of top states for business," said DECD Commissioner George Gervais. "We ask that every community continue to work to improve their business climate, and to reach out to the DECD for any reason. Our programs and initiatives are here to help."

Since the LePage administration launched the program in March of 2012, a total of 20 Maine communities have received the business-friendly status. Communities named business friendly are presented with a certificate, two MaineDOT road signs and become a key part of Maine's business attraction strategy.

#