City searching for new tax collector

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WESTBROOK — The city will begin the new fiscal year, which kicked off Sunday, searching for a new tax collector.

The City Council Monday unanimously agreed to have Director of Finance Suzanne Knight temporarily replace Tax Collector Jordan Shelburne, effective July 20, until a new collector can be found, a process that is already underway.

Shelburne, who was hired in July 2016, is resigning to take the position of controller for the city of South Portland.

“Our loss is South Portland’s gain,” Council Vice President John O’Hara said. “She will sorely be missed. Municipal workers who take their job seriously, there are many of them. We do have quite a few of them in our employment. Jordan did a fantastic job balancing a difficult job with empathy, desire and sympathy because that job needs to have that and more.”

City Administrator Jerre Bryant said at the meeting that Shelburne has handled the position in “incredible professionalism and has been a great support for the finance department.”

“Jordan served us very well and we are going to miss her,” said Mayor Mike Sanphy.

Shelburne replaced Anne-Marie Williams, the former tax collector who pleaded guilty in 2016 to embezzling $118,000 from the city between July 2015 and April 2016.

Knight was hired as director of finance, a restructured position, in August 2016 and previously worked for eight years as deputy finance director in Portland, responsible for treasury, payroll and accounts payable.

Council President Brendan Rielly thanked Knight for stepping up to take on additional work while the search for Shelburne’s replacement is underway.

Also on Monday, the council approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford E-450 cab and chassis with a remounted Braun ambulance module. The new vehicle will replace a 2008 ambulance that has close to 117,000 miles on it and is no longer covered under warranty. 

Because emergency medical calls account for 80 percent of the calls the Westbrook Fire Department receives, Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said in a letter to councilors, it is important the department stays ” up to date in not only the patient care we provide but also the equipment and apparatus purchased and used daily to provide said care.”

The increase in calls also means an increase in wear and tear on the ambulances, he said.

“This leads to increased maintenance cost and increased down time for each unit. Down time can have a negative impact not only on the service we provide to the citizens, but also on our revenue stream,” he said.

The council also approved paying $90,658 to Green Mountain Pipeline Services, of Bethel, Vermont, for a trench-less technology project to reline sewer lines on Church, Lamb, Lyman, Lincoln and Bernedette streets and okayed $6,418 for new public parking signs downtown.

It renewed the liquor license for BreaLu Cafe at 9 Cumberland St. and issued a new liquor license to Top Kabab at 888 Main St.

The council gave preliminary approval to the annual vendor lists and ordinance amendments to better define a service business and to give the code enforcement officer the power to issue stop work orders for ordinance violations. It awarded a contract to MB Tractor of Gorham for a new Kubota RTV for the Public Services Department and to Markings Inc. of Pembroke, Massachusetts, for road striping.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 781-3661 x 125 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews

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