Auburn delayed submitting an application for becoming Certified Business Friendly in Maine to give its Twin City a chance to join the effort, interim City Manager Don Gerrish said.

City councilors voted in April to apply to be one of the first to receive the certification, part of a program Gov. Paul LePage announced in his Jan. 24 State of the State address.

The program creates incentives for cities and towns to keep their regulations in line with the state. In exchange, those communities get a two-year certification, the right to use a Maine “Open for Business” logo and special promotions on the Maine Department of Economic Development website.

The first deadline was April 6, but a second round of applications is being accepted July 6.

“Some people in the community said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Lewiston-Auburn sent a joint application into the state,’ ” Gerrish said. Officials at the state’s Department of Economic Development said that would be OK.

But Lewiston officials weren’t ready to apply by the April 6 deadline.

“We were ready, but they didn’t have theirs ready,” Gerrish said. “I was away, and they called, and I said sure, let’s wait for Lewiston.”

Lincoln Jeffers, interim director of Lewiston’s Economic and Community Development Department, said he was too busy at the time to complete the application. His department was busy negotiating a proposed city purchase of the city’s canals.

“I thought, sure it would be a long night’s work and I’d get it done,” Jeffers said. “Then I talked to Roland (Miller, Auburn’s Economic Development director) and he said ‘Oh no, Linc. It’s a much longer process.”

Jeffers said he’ll have Lewiston’s application ready to go in time for the July 6 deadline.

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