BELFAST — The Belfast City Council will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. and address an agenda that includes appointing a new police chief for Belfast, multiple appointment requests to fill city staff positions, infrastructure repair to several roads, and the upcoming pool season at Belfast City Park.
A request to appoint Robert “Bobby” Cormier as the new Belfast police chief will be heard at the meeting. Since Chief Gerry Lincoln vacated the position Feb. 22, the role has been filled by interim Chief of Police Dean Jackson.
The position was posted on Feb. 1, and applications were accepted through Feb. 28. Following a series of interviews and background requirements outlined by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, the Belfast Police Chief Hiring Committee recommends that the City Council appoint Cormier, of Tilton, New Hampshire, as the new chief of police for Belfast, according to the release.
The recommendation was unanimous, with the committee composed of Interim Chief of Police Dean Jackson, Fire Chief Patrick Richards, City Councilors Mary Mortier and Mike Hurley, Sergeant Dan Thomspon, Searsport Chief of Police Todd Boisvert, and City Manager Erin Herbig.
Cormier worked as the Chief of Police in Tilton for 14 years and, “is coming in with great knowledge and a skill set that will help our organization continue to grow into a modern, well-trained, and professional agency that is respected in both our community and within the profession,” Herbig’s report reads.
If confirmed by the Council, Cormier will be sworn in Wednesday, May 18, at City Hall.
Belfast’s economic development director is requesting the City Council “allocate the entirety of its $972,000 Fiscal Year 2022 Housing and Urban Development Economic Development Initiatives Earmark to an infrastructure improvement project for the entirety of Wight Street and a section of Congress Street,” according to Herbig’s manager’s report.
The report notes that after a hiatus lasting more than a decade: “Congress reinstituted directed spending programs, more commonly referred to as earmarks. In March of 2022, the city was notified that it had received two earmarks, the first in the amount of $972,000 from the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill and the Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill and the Housing and Urban Development Economic Development Initiatives account. The City is currently awaiting guidance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development on how to release the funding.”
Originally, the City requested $4,971,500, which would be used to pay the majority of the estimated costs for making a series of infrastructure improvements on the entireties of Salmond and Wight streets, and to a significant section of Congress Street, according to the report.
“As the amount that was ultimately awarded to the City represents 20 percent of the original amount requested, the City cannot undertake this entire proposed project at this time,” Herbig wrote. “The cost for only those infrastructure improvements being made to the entirety of Wight Street and to the adjacent section of Congress Street between Wight Street and U.S. Route 1 is currently estimated to be $2,555,000. Were the City to allocate this entire $972,000 in funding, and to also use the $690,000 in Community Development Block Grant Public Infrastructure Program funding that it was recently awarded, the remaining cost would be $893,000. This remaining amount of $893,000, if borrowed through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, could have its debt service covered entirely by the city’s share of revenues from the Wight Street Affordable Housing Development and Tax Increment Financing District.”
City staff recommends that the entire $972,000 from this earmark be allocated to the infrastructure improvement project that has been proposed only for the entirety of Wight Street and the adjacent section of Congress Street between Wight Street and U.S. Route 1.
Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge will be available at the meeting to present and answer any questions.
Also on the agenda is an update from Parks and Recreation Director Norm Poirier regarding the City pool.
The City had planned to have the Waldo County YMCA staff the City Park Pool, as they did last summer, but unfortunately due to staff changes, the YMCA will be unable to run the City Park Pool this summer.
Poirier has started to recruit lifeguards for the upcoming season and believes that he will be able to open the pool with its own staff this year, but in a more limited capacity, the agenda notes. Poirier will be at the meeting to provide an update on what can be expected for the upcoming season.
Belfast City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Meetings are conducted online using Zoom and 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.
An oral comment can also be submitted during the meeting via Zoom webinar. Information for this method can be found on the City website.
Information and documents related to this meeting are available on the City’s website.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org