Staff shortage results in fewer days of operation at Houlton Town Office

2 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton residents trying to register their vehicles or dogs in the new year may have discovered the town office was not open for business on certain days.

Houlton Town Manager Marian Anderson said Monday that the town has been struggling to fill all available shifts at the town office due to two vacancies within the municipality.

“I would like to express appreciation on behalf of the town office staff for the public’s patience for the fact that we have had to be closed sometimes and our services limited due to staffing issues,” Anderson said. “We obviously don’t make those decisions [to close] lightly and appreciate the council’s support. Our staff is doing absolutely everything they can to get everything done.”

For the past month, the town office has been closed to the public each Wednesday to allow the remaining staff to process payroll and pay the town’s bills, Anderson said. In addition, the town office has been open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays for half a day.

The first month of the new year is often quite busy with people registering their dogs. Anderson said the town has more than 400 dogs that have to be registered each year.

For times when the town office is closed, a drop box has been placed in the outer lobby for people to leave any paperwork or bills needing to be paid.

Anderson added that the town of Houlton’s website also has options for people to conduct business online. Among those online services are vehicle, ATV and snowmobile registrations; building permits; hunting and fishing licenses; burn permits and marriage licenses.

“We are anticipating that by February we will be back open (full time) on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Anderson said. “We have a new employee starting Jan. 24 and another Feb. 7, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”