Belfast City Council to discuss adding seating to downtown, 2022-2023 budget

Tue, 06/21/2022 - 11:00am

    BELFAST — The Belfast City Council will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. and address an agenda that includes a proposal to add artistic seating downtown, proposed City budget for the the 2022-2023 fiscal year, among others. 

    The first item on Tuesday’s agenda is consideration of a proposal by Our Town Belfast to install chairs throughout the downtown area. 

    According to City Manager Erin Herbig’s report, the proposal comes from a need for additional seating in downtown Belfast. The Our Town Belfast Design committee has created a new program entitled Sit Down Belfast 2022, and tapped board member and Design Committee Chair Pegi Miller, who came up with a new concept. That concept involves the building of Adirondack chairs, with adjustments made to make it easier for users to get in and out of the chairs, according to the report. A local craftsman, Doug Bell, built a prototype that has already been tested successfully by community members. 

    With the chair design complete and tested, OTB “put out a call for artists to pain the chairs and for sponsors to “adopt” one of these chairs,” the report reads. If the proposal is approved, the OTB committee “expects that [the] chairs will be unveiled and placed in their new locations by the end of June 2022.”

    Another item agenda is a presentation of the proposed 2022-2023 city budget. 

    The agenda item reads in part: 

    “While some parts of the last two years have and still feel like we were striving to get to the other side, we have had to accept some of these changes as our new norm as it would be unwise to anticipate they will ever return to pre-pandemic normal.

    “Like all employers across our state and country, we too have felt the labor shortage, in nearly every City department, but most severely in our emergency response positions. 

    “And like all employers across our state and country, the cost of doing business has increased. Just as a bag of groceries costs a lot more than it used to, so does tar patch, salt, sewer pipes, ink cartridges, paper, and vehicles, if you can get them.

    “We too feel the labor and financial pressures that the pandemic did not entirely create but certainly further intensified. With one eye navigating us through the remainder of the pandemic, the other must look toward investing in the future of the City of Belfast. This includes investment in our aging infrastructure for maintenance and growth, investments in equipment programs to keep up with the modernizing world, and investment in our staff with more support and training so that we may continue to provide the level of service citizens of Belfast expect and deserve.

    “The impacts of COVID-19 have certainly challenged our community, but together we set in place a plan that has helped us get through the worst of the past two years together. In [fiscal year 22-23] the City of Belfast continues to look for the opportunities that exist despite the challenges.”

    A breakdown of the FY22-23 budget is provided in Herbig’s report. The total municipal net budget, after deducting “other revenues” from the gross budget, is listed as $6,370,751. The RSU #71 education assessment is listed as $10,693,882, while the County of Waldo assessment is listed as $1,631,789. 

    “As proposed, the City of Belfast FY22-23 operating budget projects to represent 34.07 percent of this year’s property tax bill. 

    “65.93 percent of this year’s property tax bill projects to represent that of RSU #71 (57.32 percent) and the County of Waldo (8.73 percent).”

     A public hearing regarding the proposed budget will take place at tonight’s meeting, which will allow for the public to comment either for or against the proposal. 

    A copy of the budget can be found on the City of Belfast website. 

    Following the public hearing there will be a discussion and possible vote on the proposed City Budget.

    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