Collins retires from Dixfield Town Office

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DIXFIELD — For nearly 36 years Charlotte Collins has served as deputy treasurer, secretary, administrative assistant and anything else that needed to be done at the Town Office.

She worked for 11 town managers and witnessed bookkeeping and other office duties go from pen and paper to almost full computerization.

On Friday, Jan. 11, Collins will retire.

“I’ve been happy here, and I love the work in the town office,” she said. “It’s different every day. I may be doing payroll one minute and the next minute I may have to call an ambulance because someone has fallen in the parking lot.”

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Collins, 65, graduated in 1966 from the former Dixfield High School, just as her now-deceased parents, Donald and Beverly Collins, did before her. Before settling into her position at the Town Office, she worked for an insurance company in Massachusetts and Portland, and in the office of Stowell-McGregor wood mill. She even served as a flagger for a short time during the town’s construction of the sewer project in the 1970s.

But since 1979, Collins has been in the Town Office. The favorite part of her job isn’t written anywhere – it’s the freedom to take on special projects, she said.

She has been largely responsible for the town receiving awards from the Maine Municipal Association for the quality of the annual report. Printed on glossy paper, the report is filled with a lots of information, as well as colorful photos and artwork.

Collins also led the mission to get the antique-looking town clock installed in the center of town. That took “begging and pleading” for $20,000 in donations to buy the impressive timekeeper as part of the town’s bicentennial celebration in 2003.

The Village Green had been a vacant lot. Although others worked to find funds for the gazebo and the Bullrock moose statue placed there, it was Collins who wrote grants for the village park.

Collins is very active in the Dixfield Historical Society, where she revels in viewing the exhibits as well as preparing the thousands of items people have donated for display.

“It’s just fun,” she said.

Once she has more time, she hopes to dig deeper into her family’s genealogy. She and her sister, Donna Towle, were recently inducted into the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“I’m very proud to be a member,” she said, adding that she had traced her mother’s family back to a Maj. William Brackett who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Once she’s retired, Collins will have more time to watch her grandson, Jack Coyne, play sports, or possibly go lobstering with him.

Collins is the mother of two, grandmother of four, and great-grandmother of three.

She has been training Samantha Ellis Hill during the past few weeks for the position, and said she will return to help out, if needed.

“I’ve done my thing,” she said. “It’s time for someone new with new ideas and more computer savvy.”

A retirement party is planned from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Jan.11, at Ludden Memorial Library.

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