It’s been three weeks since Richard Couch began his duties as Stockton Springs’ new town manager, and while he’s in the midst of the busy municipal budget-building season, he said he’s enjoyed his time in town so far.

“I like it, it’s a change in pace for me, and I’m happy,” said Couch.

Couch, 43, of Bucksport said this is his first town manager’s post, but he has been interested in working in town government since he earned his masters degree in public administration at the University of Maine. Couch completed his courses while living in the Pine Tree State from 1994-2000.

Couch came to the coastal community from central New York, where he worked for the department of labor.

During his first stint in Maine he worked for the American Cancer Society, a job that eventually took him to Washington D.C., where he was a lobbyist for a number of years. During his time in the nation’s capitol, Couch said his chief concentration was in the area of tobacco use deterrence and by extension, cancer prevention.

Couch took over the town management duties from interim town manager, Joshua “Skip” Day, after former Stockton Springs Town Manager Joe Hayes took a job in the Town of Veazie earlier this year.

And though he has been working in the realm of public service in recent years, Couch said he is pleased to be in his current position.

“I always wanted to get into town management,” he said, taking a break from a budget meeting Friday morning. “It seemed like a nice fit.”

The biggest challenge Couch sees going forward is the need to keep town expenses in line with what local taxpayers can afford to support.

“Towns are not immune,” said Couch of today’s economic conditions. “There is no magic answer… We’re paying the same expenses everyone else is. It’s a balancing act.”

Couch said what he is most looking forward to is learning more about the community he now serves.

“It’s getting to know the people, and getting my feet wet in municipal management,” he said. “I’m looking forward to summer, and seeing some leaves on the trees. Maine is behind central New York in that regard. I’m looking forward to seeing the harbor full of boats.”