THOMASTON — Following a lengthy debate, the Thomaston Select Board voted Nov. 17 to extend the town’s contract with Community Concepts Finance Corp. for Brian Doyle to continue acting as Economic Development Specialist.

The current contract was set to expire in December. The extended contract will last six more months, at which time the Board will consider the matter again, likely with an eye on a more long-term agreement.

The financing for Doyle’s position with the town comes from a special fund the town has through an agreement with Dragon Cement, and does not cost taxpayer dollars.

The money in this fund is earmarked only for economic development purposes.

Thomaston voters authorized the Board to spend this money in Article 21 of the Town Meeting Warrant in June.

Board member Sandy Moore and Chair Diane Giese both expressed concern that extending the contract by six months would leave them in the same position at the end of that time.

Board member Zel Bowman-Laberge said the Board had received positive feedback from the businesses Doyle had worked with, and it seemed that a lot of great work had been started.

Bowman-Laberge said she felt extending the contract by six months seemed reasonable in such a strange time.

Giese said she understood change was slow, and she knew Doyle had put forth great efforts during his time working for the town. She did not see drastic results from this work, though.

Charlie Grover, a member of the Economic Development Committee who has been working closely with Doyle, said it could take three to five years to see drastic results from the position.

Grover described it as a long-term project.

Giese asked why the town did not seek a three-to-five-year contract in the first place, then.

Grover said the Board was reluctant to put such a lengthy contract before the voters, and was unsure if they would support it.

Resident Susan Devlin, who runs the Thomaston Historical Society and works closely with Doyle in that position, said it has been a pleasure to work with him.

Devlin also said she thought the town could do more to communicate the work that Doyle is doing in this role.

Giese said Doyle updated the Town and the Board regularly, and these updates were on the town website and newsletter.

Devlin said she did not think that was enough, and the town should be utilizing multiple avenues to get the word out about Doyle’s work.

Thomaston is a different town than it was a year ago, Grover said. The downtown businesses Doyle worked with were more involved in the town, and had even paid for the summer music concerts the town held.

Grover also pointed out that taxpayers had not paid a dime for Doyle’s position.

Board member Bill Hahn said the businesses in the Watts Block had all renewed their contracts, and Doyle did a lot of work on behalf of the Economic Development Committee. Without him, the committee would need to find someone else to take on these tasks.

Hahn added that he felt Doyle’s role in the town would morph as time went on.

Vice-Chair Peter Lammert compared Doyle’s work to pushing a chain. It would take a lot of time and effort to see results, and Doyle was putting in that work.

In some cases Doyle had achieved great success, Lammert said.

As long as Doyle continued to put in that work, that was important to seeing the results.

Town Manager Kara George said she saw Doyle on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. He has worked on many projects, and the town had no plan in place to replace him if they did not extend the contract.

George said she felt it would be fair to give him that chance.

Giese asked about hiring Doyle outright instead of going through Community Concepts Finance Corp.

Doyle said the company provided him with important value and expertise, and he would be sure to communicate that with the town in the future.

The vote to extend the contract with Community Concepts Finance Corp. for six months passed unanimously.

The six-month contract will cost $35,344, which George said was the amount Community Concepts had quoted to her.