EASTPORT, Maine — Closed-door interviews of applicants eager to become this Washington County seaside community’s next city manager will continue into next week.

Citing “burnout,” current City Manager Jon Southern informed the city council last November that he would be stepping down after his employment contract expires on April 26, 2013. Southern, 40, has been Eastport’s city manager since April 2010.

Southern said Thursday that the city received 25 applications for the job, which currently pays $55,000 a year. The pool of applicants has since been narrowed to three candidates who will be interviewed next week in executive sessions, he said.

Southern said he plans to make himself available to work side-by-side with his successor to help ensure a smooth transition.

“I think that’s essential, as there are several large projects underway, and we’re also in the middle of budget sessions,” he said. “Even after April 26th, I’ll be in the area. Nothing’s set in stone. We’ve made so much progress here that continuity is important.”

Southern said he’s not yet determined his next career move. Before coming to Eastport, he had worked as a defense contractor and a management consultant.

“I have a few projects I want to do, as well as doing some canoeing and hiking,” he said.

During his tenure, Southern was instrumental in attracting grants totaling more than $2 million, including one for $1.2 million to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment system. Other grants amounted to $300,000 to upgrade the city’s fire station, $150,000 to help fund an overlook park project and almost $1 million for airport improvements.