Clavette leaving Yarmouth for Auburn post

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YARMOUTH — Denise Clavette will leave her post as economic development director Friday to become assistant city manager in Auburn.

Before becoming Yarmouth’s first economic development director in February 2015, Clavette was executive director of the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel Chamber of Commerce, business development director for the town of Brunswick, and director of parks and recreation in Portland. 

With her experience in municipal government, Clavette on Monday said she is excited to use the skills she has acquired to pursue a new career path. 

“When you serve in my capacity and do a lot of work in operational and economic development, the natural sequence at some point is to think about becoming an assistant town or city manager,” she said. 

One of Clavette’s first goals in Yarmouth was forming the Economic Development Advisory Board.

According to its 2016 annual report, the board’s mission is to “help facilitate capital investment, job creation, increased business activity, and expansion of existing local businesses and attracting prospective new businesses.”

Clavette and the board worked with more than 75 businesses, developers, organizations and agencies, including the Greater Portland Transit District, ScaleUp, and Yarmouth Arts. 

“The emphasis I want to make with everything that I’ve done (in Yarmouth) is that its all been a collaborative process,” Clavette said, working with the EDAB, town staff, Town Manager Nat Tupper, the Town Council, and local volunteers.

Clavette helped Tyler Technologies and Patriot Insurance explore business expansions. She also assisted Five County Credit Union in its purchase of property on Route 1, which began construction last fall and will be the town’s first credit union. 

But Clavette said the most successful outcome of her tenure was establishment of three tax increment financing districts in downtown and along Route 1.

All three districts were approved by the Town Council in August 2015 and by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development in March 2016. According to the annual report, these TIF districts will generate more than $30 million in tax revenue over the next 30 years, all of which will stay in Yarmouth. 

“(Our TIFs) are special in the sense that the majority, if not all, of the projects identified in the development program are here to reinvest in Yarmouth,” Clavette said.

Clavette said she is also proud of the work she and the EDAB have put into building community collaboration and said she has no doubt “it will be fun for somebody else to take what (she’s) done and run with it.”

Tupper said he will begin a search for Clavette’s replacement after he has had the chance to meet with the Town Council, and has “no doubt” that Yarmouth’s economic development will move forward.

“(Clavette) has aspirations to grow in her career and she has the talent and the drive (to do so),” Tupper said. “She has been enormously successful and helpful to all of us. (She is) highly energized and organized and bright and we’re going to miss her.” 

Clavette will begin work for Auburn on July 24. 

“At this point, I’m (learning) about what projects are going on and what they’re going to expect of me,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being part of (Auburn’s) team and working together to make things happen for Auburn.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Denise Clavette will step down as Yarmouth’s first economic development director July 7, to become assistant city manager in Auburn.

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