JAY — Town officials have applied to have the town be recognized by the state as a Certified Business-Friendly Community.

It is part of an effort to focus more on community development.

Town Manager Ruth Cushman said when she met with Gov. Paul LePage previously, he suggested the first place to start in regard to economic development is to become certified through the Certified Business-Friendly Community Program.

According to a letter from the governor posted on the state’s website explaining the program, the No. 1 priority of his administration is job creation.

The program “is another step toward partnering with business, to ensure they have the tools and environment they need to expand and create jobs in Maine,” he wrote.

A public comment period is being held on Jay’s application. Comments are to be submitted in writing no later than May 3 to Andrea K. Smith, Department of Economic and Community Development, 59 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0059 or by email at [email protected]

It is a very competitive process, Cushman said Monday.

“It will give us more recognition and assistance from the state,” she said, if the town is approved.

If the town is successful, an award of certification will be presented by the governor and/or commissioner.

The program “seeks to identify, recognize and promote communities that show a true commitment to business development,” according to the state’s website.

The town would also be recognized on the state DECD website, receive two “Certified Business-Friendly” signs and would be certified for two years. Communities would be able to reapply once the certification expires, according to the state’s website.

As of this year, Certified Business-Friendly Communities that are eligible to apply for state-administered Community Development Block Grant funds, will be eligible for bonus points in the Economic Development, Downtown Revitalization and MicroEnterprise Assistance programs.

Certified Business-Friendly Communities will become a key part of Maine’s Business Attraction strategy, according to the website.

Cities and towns already recognized through the program are Auburn, Lewiston, Fairfield, Biddeford, Augusta, Cumberland, Lincoln, Saco, Topsham, Westbrook, Fairfield, Ellsworth, Kennebunk, Sanford, Guilford, Pittsfield and Bath

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