Rockport Assessor Judy Mathiau delivered her resignation Feb. 18 and said she plans to assume a similar post with the town of Winslow in mid-March. Her last day in Rockport will be Thursday, March 4.

“It is with the greatest heartfelt emotion that I must submit my resignation as the Rockport assessor,” she wrote in her letter to Town Manager Robert Peabody.

She noted her longtime association with Rockport, having worked as the town’s assessors’ agent from 1993 to 2000 before moving to Camden, and then to Augusta where she worked in Maine’s property tax division. She returned full circle to Rockport three and a half years ago, happy to be rehired by a town for which she has great affection.

“I missed assessing and when the Rockport job opened up, I wanted to come back,” she said Feb. 18. “I knew the staff — Bruce [Woodward, Rockport fire chief] and Steve [Beveridge, Rockport public works director] would be here, and that for me was huge.”

But she said the Winslow job offered more in salary than Rockport, and a shorter commute from her home in Vassalboro.

“I have a strong connection with the town of Rockport,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “I have expressed this to the taxpayers through my dedicated service and I have communicated this to the other department heads. I have completely enjoyed my employment here over the past three and a half years.”

But she also raised the specter of budget cuts affecting municipal careers.

“With the fear of impacts on the upcoming budget through reduction in clerical support, insurance coverage and no increases in salary, the opportunity for advancement both personally and financially is necessary and timely,” she wrote.

Mathiau said the Rockport department heads all work well together and the job has been enjoyable.

“All of a sudden in the past six months, people started looking depressed,” she said. “I understand that we have to cut budgets, given the economy. But it appeared the direction of these cuts was focused on the wrong areas and emphasized cutting services that we felt important to give.”

In mid-January, the Rockport Select Board directed the town manager to calculate three separate budget packages for 2010-2011, one showing no increase, one representing a 10 percent reduction in cost, and one representing a 20 percent reduction. Department heads had already been asked to submit figures with as close to no increase from this year as possible.

Department heads will meet with the Select Board on Wednesday, March 3 to discuss their budgets.

Mathiau said on Feb. 18 that the fiscal cuts were understandable, but “after a while, you lose that feeling of worth and start feeling, what is the point?”

Mathiau said her current salary with Rockport is $58,000 and her Winslow salary will be $63,000 per year.

“It is too bad to lose somebody with her capabilities, and the respect that she has both statewide and locally,” said Peabody. “It will be extremely difficult to replace her.”

Peabody said the town will advertise locally and in statewide media, as well as in the classified section of the Maine Municipal Association’s Web site.

In 2001, when Mathiau first left Rockport, the town contracted with William E. Van Tuinen Tax Assessment Services of Madison, which had just completed the town’s revaluation. Then the town hired Thomas Edwards of Dexter for the job. Following Edwards’ departure, the town hired James Jurdak, who filled the post for seven months. At that point, Mathiau returned to Rockport.