Town Manager Andrew Dorr said John Bubier, a retired municipal manager who lives in Yarmouth, will work for the town for 20 to 25 hours per week. He is expected to be on-island one day a week, more often when the work requires.
The town is budgeting about $25,000 annually for the post. Residents approved the budget line at their annual town meeting in June.
Bubier’s last full-time position was as city manager of Biddeford, where he worked for ten years.
Dorr said selectmen supported creating the planner position to help the town craft a strategy to keep its downtown vibrant, and work to identify infrastructure needs and plan municipal responses to rising sea levels.
The economic development work Bubier will focus on includes helping downtown businesses land historic preservation and business tax incentive grants, and improving internet speeds.
The planner also will help the town develop improvements to its roads, sidewalks and water mains. The original cast-iron water lines were installed in 1908, Dorr said.
About half of Bubier’s time will be dedicated to addressing threats to the island town from sea level rise. Vinalhaven landed a $45,000 grant from the Maine Coastal Program to work on such preparations. The required matches came from the Knox County Emergency Management Agency, the Vinalhaven Land Trust and the Island Institute (publisher of The Working Waterfront), Dorr said.
“We’re targeting the area from the ferry terminal up to Water Street,” which comprises “the very concentrated business district.”
Dorr said the town was impressed with Bubier’s extensive municipal experience.