June 7 meeting

Belfast City Council to discuss Route 1/Route 52 intersection, junior firefighting program, award recipients

Mon, 06/06/2022 - 4:15pm

    BELFAST — The Belfast City Council will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m. and address an agenda that includes the 2022 Belfast Spirit award winner, Route 1 intersection with Route 52, and Farmers Market parking, among others.

    One of the items listed on City Manager Erin Herbig’s agenda is the consideration of naming public health nurse Susan Dupler as the 2022 Belfast Spirit of America recipient.

    It is noted that each year the Belfast City Council is tasked with picking a local person, project, or group to receive the Belfast Spirit of America Foundation Tribute for outstanding service. The SPoF is an Augusta-based public charity that is dedicated to encouraging volunteerism. Every year the SPoF Tribute is to be presented in the name of any Maine municipality. The recipient is to be formally recognized at the fall event honoring all of the winners throughout Waldo County. 

    This year’s Belfast selection, Susan Dupler, was born and raised in the City and became the public health nurse for Belfast several years earlier, according to Herbig’s report.

    “During her time as the Public Health nurse, [Dupler] has organized countless blood-drives, health screenings, free flu shot clinics, blood pressure clinics, and health fairs. She takes time to share information with the community about a variety of health topics by attending events at the local YMCA and regular City Council Meetings. 

    “[Dupler] has developed a close working relationship with the City’s General Assistance Program to link people to needed health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable. Over the last two years she has helped our community navigate the Covid-19 pandemic through education, holding community immunization clinics, and monitoring outbreaks as well as working with our local schools to assist with food insecurity as many families navigated financial hardship,” the agenda item reads in part. 

    Mayor Eric Sanders is scheduled to read the proclamation recognizing Dupler as the 2022 Belfast Spirit of America recipient. 

    A request from Belfast’s Fire Chief Patrick Richards to create a junior firefighter program for the City is also scheduled to be heard at the meeting.

    The program would allow high school age teens to “step into the emergency response service under the guidance of a mentor of the department staff. Each junior firefighter would be assigned to a senior member of the department and would receive initial training,” the proposal reads. “This is a great opportunity for young adults to gain exposure for this career and would aid the department in recruitment.”

    If the Council approves the request, Chief Richards states that the program will start with no more than four junior firefighters, who would be paid $12.75 per hour while on call or participating in training exercises. Richards will be present at the meeting to answer any questions. 

    A presentation on the proposed Amendments to Chapter 58 Traffic and Vehicles is another agenda item. The amendment proposals come after it was brought to the City’s attention that both sides of High Street are being used for parking when the Farmer’s Market is taking place each Friday. Further investigation of the issue revealed ambiguity for both the public and police regarding the current parking conditions. 

    City Hall staff discussed the issue with BPD, and the public works department and recommended that an ordinance amendment is made to the Chapter 58 Traffic and Vehicles to remove on street parking “from the easterly side of High Street (the bay side) between John Street to Field Street,” according to Herbig’s report. 

    The City Council conducted the first reading of the proposed changes at the regular City Council meeting May 3. 

    A public hearing on the proposed amendments is to take place following the presentation. 

    Anyone who wishes to offer public comment at the June 7, hearing can do so in a number of ways. 

    Comments can be submitted via email in advance of the meeting, to Bub Fournier, Director, Code, and Planning at directorplanning@cityofbelfast.org. Comments should be received no later than 2 p.m. the day of the meeting. It is noted this is the preferred method of submitting comments. A letter can also be sent to the City of Belfast, Code & Planning Department, at 131 Church Street.

    A second reading of the proposed amendments is scheduled to take place following the public hearing. 

    The intersection of Route 1 and Route 52 is also featured on the agenda at the request of City Council Mike Hurley. Hurley reportedly received a letter from concerned citizens requesting that the Council take actions to make the risky intersection safer. 

    Hurley noted that he has discussed the issue with Belfast’s Public Works Director Bob Richards to see what, if anything, the city of Belfast can do to make the intersection safer. 

    “Unfortunately, this intersection is maintained by the Maine Department of Transportation, and in turn, the City is unable to make any changes to the layout or lights, but can make recommendations to MaineDOT.

    “Where the City does not have authority of this intersection, i would recommend that the City Council send a letter to MaineDOT expressing the concerns brought forward by the citizens of Belfast, put forward recommendations, and request that MaineDOT take action,” a letter from Councilor Hurley reads. 

    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 news@penbaypilot.com