Belfast City Council to address wastewater improvements, increased ambulance fees, new airport hangars

Mon, 11/14/2022 - 7:45pm

    BELFAST — The Belfast City Council will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. and address an agenda that includes confirmation of a new Belfast Police officers increasing ambulatory service fees, wastewater improvements, and new airport hangars, among other topics.

    Belfast Police Chief Robert Cormier is requesting the Council confirm Damon Lefferts as a full time police officer for the department. Lefferts is a graduate of Thomas College, where he majored in criminal justice. He received his certification as a police officer in Maine and has been working with the Waterville Police Department since 2004, where he worked as the school resource officer, in addition to working as a detective. 

    Belfast Public Works Director Bob Smith has submitted a request for Mark Smith to be appointed as a full time truck driver/laborer for the BPW department. Director Smith wrote that he believes Smith’s paving experience will be asset to the department. 

    Later on the agenda is an item for the Council to consider increasing service fees for Belfast’s ambulance services. It is noted the last such increase was in April 2017. 

    “Although we have tried our best over the last five years to maintain these costs, increases in day-to-day operating costs across the board from EMS supplies and equipment, vehicle maintenance and replacement, medications and fuel have all increased significantly. The City of Belfast cannot maintain adequate service to our community and the other communities we serve without an increase in fees to provide the service,” the report  reads. 

    Discussions between Fire Chief Patrick Richards, Ambulance Director Debbie Heath, Finance Director Theresa Butler, and City Manager Herbig have reportedly been involved in long discussions, while also receiving guidance from Belfast’s ambulance billing agency. 

    It was also found that Belfast’s current ambulatory fees are lower than those of other comparable municipalities, according to Herbig’s report. 

    It has been recommended by Chief Richards that Belfast’s on-scene charge, “which is increasing to $325, be applied to outlying municipalities that we do not regularly service for primary emergency response. The City of Belfast currently maintains contracted EMS agreements with five surrounding towns. If we must respond outside of those five towns for a primary response because their EMS agency responsible is unable to do so, a $325 service charge would be billed to the town, separate from the usual patient billing when providing EMS service,” the report states in part. 

    Additional information, as well as the complete proposal are available to view

    Also on the agenda is a presentation of an order pertaining to the issuance by the City to a lender of general obligation bonds and bond anticipation notes in amounts not to exceed $4,245,000. The funds are to be used to finance “the costs associated with the acquisition, design, construction renovation, rehabilitation, upgrading and equipping of (1) any or all improvements of wastewater collection and transmission systems of the City, including in or about Vine Street, High Street, Waldo Ave, Miller Street, Field Street, and River Ave and (2) facilities, equipment or both functionally related and subordinate to the foregoing. 

    The complete order is available to read in Herbig’s report. 

    Following the discussion, a public hearing of the order will be held, followed by a second reading of the order. 

    The Council is also expected to accept $5,000 from the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce for the City’s portion of proceeds from Arts in the Park 2022. 

     A request from Ken Ortmann, Belfast’s Municipal Airport’s manager, will be discussed, which would allow Herbig to enter into an agreement with Thomas Fowler, P.E. LLC to assist in the construction of new hangars at the municipal airport. 

    According to the request, the  construction of additional hangars could benefit the City by increasing property tax revenue, increasing ground lease revenue, and increasing revenue from aircraft owners purchasing fuel and services. 

    The report concludes with the signing of Council orders, where Herbig talked of the holiday season. Her message reads in part:

    “This Thanksgiving, we have so much to be thankful for here in the City of Belfast.

    “We have faced challenges over the past year and shared many great accomplishments together in our little community. I am reminded of the impact of family, community, helping one another and being there for each other. As community members we are bound by our good fortune to live and work here, together. 

    Here in Belfast, we can all be thankful for all of the blessings that have been given to us this year and for the future that lies ahead. We will continued to move forward, grow, and prosper together as a community. 

    For more information and a complete agenda, the official agenda is available to view.

    Belfast City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Meetings can be streamed on the City of Belfast website. They also air live on BEL TV and on Belfast Community Radio at WBFY 100.9. 

    Comments can also be submitted by emailing the Council during the meeting. Comments will be presented to the Council.

    Information and documents related to this meeting are available on the City’s website. 

    Erica Thoms can be reached at