Goals in the works, budget on the horizon, and lots to do in the meantime

Belfast Council moves ahead with new membership

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 8:45am

    BELFAST - With two new members since the Nov. 4 election, the Belfast City Council came together informally on Monday to talk about goals for the coming year.

    City Manager Joe Slocum said he imagined, coming into the meeting, that the Council might emerge with a grand plan. But he quickly realized it would take some time to get the new councilors up to speed sort through lists of past priorities and new ambitions.

    As a result, Slocum said Monday’s workshop amounted to an informal conversation on a wide topics ranging from brief updates on existing projects to explanations of basic procedures like executive sessions and goals like energy efficiency and potentially shortening the timeline of the budget process. 

    “They all just talked about things that were important to them,” he said. Any project you can think of we talked about. But just a little about each. I look at it as the start of a constructive dialog.”

    Slocum said he hopes to eventually arrive at something like a “Top 10” list of priorities, but he acknowledged it may take some time to get there.

    The first regular Council meeting will be held tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

    Neal Harkness or Ward 2 and John Arrison of Ward 5 take the place of Roger Lee and Nancy Hamilton, who both opted not to seek re-election. Ward 1 Councilor Mary Mortier is starting her second term after running unopposed on Election Day. They join multiterm councilors Eric Sanders of Ward 3 and Mike Hurley of Ward 4.

    Meetings are open to the public and televised live on the city’s government access station, channel 7 for Time Warner Cable subscribers.

    The Nov. 18 agenda includes:

    • A request to hire the environmental consulting firm used by the city for two previous brownfields grants to oversee cleanup on the site of a condemned city-owned building at 45 Front Street, most recently used by the Belfast Maskers theater group.

    • Discussion of removing vegetation around the Belfast airport runway.

    • An update on an inspection of the bascule on the Armistice footbridge — the bascule is a kind of drawbridge that allows boats to pass beyond the inner harbor to the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River.

    • An update on the Passy Rail Trail conversion of a stretch of the old Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad between the old upper bridge crossing and City Point Central Station.

    • Discussion of naming the triangular park on Lower Main Street between the Rollie’s block and the County Copy building. The park has been host to artist-made seating as part of the annual Please Be Seated program. For several years is was home to a designated graffiti wall.

    Executive sessions on personnel matters, an economic development matter and union negotiations.

    Ethan Andrews can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com