The return of cruise ships to Belfast Bay, possible increase in general assistance limits, and skate park repairs among topics of discussion at Belfast City Council meeting

Mon, 10/02/2023 - 10:00am

    BELFAST — The Belfast City Council will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., to consider topics including proposed increases to general assistance limits, the return of the cruise ship to Belfast Bay, and skate park repairs, among other agenda items.

    The first item on Belfast City Manager Erin Herbig’s pre-meeting agenda is a presentation on the 2023-2024 General Assistance Ordinance and State Derived Maximum Benefits for general assistance requests. 

    General Assistance is a statewide program, with different areas requiring different levels of financial assistance; something determined with local surveys. Every year the State of Maine proposes a new maximum limit of assistance as well as a General Assistance Ordinance and Appendices for the City to consider adopting, which is updated annually by the Maine Municipal Associations. 

    No Council action will be required during the presentation of the proposed amendments. 

    Following the presentation a public hearing on the matter will take place. Anyone with questions regarding the proposed amendments can contact Kristi Osgood, General Assistance Administrator at, or by calling 338-3370 ext. 120.

    A second reading of the proposed new limit will take place after the hearing. 

    Elsewhere on the agenda, Parks and Recreation Director Zach Dozier is requesting the Council to approve an expenditure of $4,000 to repair broken ramps at the Overlock Skate Park. There are reportedly two ramps at the park that have large holes in the skating surface. Dozier reached out to a “long-time user and steward of Overlock Skate Park about the possibility of him repairing the affected ramps.” The man, Nikadimus Cody, is also a local builder who has built and repaired ramps for the OSP in the past. 

    The $4,000 would be taken from the Skate Park Design/Construction account, which has a current balance of $22,370. 

    Additional information about the repairs is available in Herbig’s full pre-meeting report

    Dozier will also attend the meeting to answer any questions. 

    The Council will hear a request from the Harbor Master to approve Charter Vessel Contacts for the 2024 season. These are contracts for vessels that wish to operate out of Belfast Harbor for the 2024 summer season, operating from both the City Landing and Thompson’s Wharf slip facilities. 

    Two of the requests are from vessel operators who had approved contracts for the 2023 summer season, including Alex Pelling of the Back and Forth, and Jack Ives of the schooner Charm. No changes are requested for Pelling or Ives’ respective contracts. 

    American Cruise Lines, which has reportedly operated from the Belfast City Landing for close to 20 years, has not made an appearance since the start of COVID and the building of a new ship.

    The cruise line has requested to return for the 2024 summer season, with their new ship, the American Eagle, a 243-foot catamaran. The vessel is licensed for 109 passengers and has a crew of 50.

    According to Herbig’s report, the company’s 12-week schedule request is to stay two consecutive days a week in Belfast starting in July, which gives the passengers and crew more time in town than their previous schedule of one afternoon per week. 

    For a complete list of vessels seeking contracts for the summer 2024 season, or to read a complete agenda, view Herbig’s full pre-meeting report

    Erica Thoms can be reached at