BELFAST – Belfast City Council will hold its regular public meeting on Tuesday April 19 at 7pm and will discuss an agenda which includes a request to eliminate future “flower funds” for the cemetery, as well as the operation of the YMCA of Waldo County municipal swimming pool for the 2022 season and the attraction of police officers for city employment /
Three executive sessions will take place before Tuesday’s meeting, with a real estate question, a legal question and a personnel question. Everyone has 15 minutes before the start of the regular council meeting at 7:00 p.m.
According to Belfast City Manager Erin Herbig’s report, a request from Cemetery Superintendent Leigh Wilcox will be heard regarding the conclusion of a long-running flower fund, originally set up by grieving families in the 1940s.
The financing was set up to earn interest to pay for seasonal flowers. It is noted in the application that: “At the time it started, the interest was able to cover the costs. The original funds would have been long since spent and currently an additional $1,200 is taken annually from the cemetery fund to pay for the arrangements. There is official documentation in the cemetery trustee’s bylaws regarding the flower fund, nor is there a method for accepting donations or funding.
Wilcox and cemetery trustees, “recommend that the City continue to honor these 36 existing purchasers of floral arrangements using funds from the HM Payson Cemetery Account, which has a balance of $2,405,640, but no longer accept new requests and inform future requests that they set up such an arrangement with a local florist.
Wilcox will be at the meeting to present and answer any questions.
A request for Council to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Waldo County YMCA to operate the Belfast City Park Pool for the 2022 season is also expected to be heard.
It would be the second season, with director of parks and recreation Norm Poirier saying “this arrangement has worked well over the past year” and recommending that the City of Belfast strike a deal for this summer.
The arrangement was reportedly created after Poirier struggled to fill seasonal positions for the past two years.
“The Waldo County YMCA, on the other hand, has a full-time aquatic director, year-round aquatic staff, and can provide pre-season lifeguard training as a method of attracting staff,” it says. noted in the report.
If the application is approved, the pool is expected to open at the end of June and will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Poirier will also be at the meeting to answer questions and has another request related to the municipal park this summer that will be heard.
The request is that the City enter into an agreement for the City Park concession stand for the 2022 season. According to the report, three proposals were submitted, including one after the March 29 deadline. The three submissions came from Shake-n-Spud, Belfast Shaved Ice and Must Be Nice Lobster.
Director of Parks and Recreation Poirier and the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended that the city accept Must Be Nice Lobster’s belated proposal. The concession stand would operate May 1 through October 1, six to seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Board will also discuss the possibility of returning to in-person meetings. The addition of the article was suggested by Mayor Eric Sanders.
Herbig concluded his report by discussing the devastating March 24 fire at the Penobscot McCrum facility.
Herbig’s last words read, in part:
“This destructive event has further underscored the intense need for public safety officers in our community and the incredible work they do to keep us all safe.
“The state of Maine is facing a shortage of police officers, and Belfast is no exception. Last week the City of Belfast announced a new incentive scheme to entice police recruits to join the Belfast Police Service.
“Belfast City Council voted unanimously to implement an incentive scheme on April 5, to attract and retain an excellent staff of well-trained and professional certified police officers. The City of Belfast offers [a] Sign-up bonuses of $20,000 for new police officers and lateral transfer options of up to $34.48 per hour, with up to [five] vacation weeks. We are implementing a four-day work week for our police officers and any certified officer who wants to join our team.
“Incentive options also include military and education allowances, opportunities for advancement, including K-9 and MDEA positions, and enrollment in the state’s 3C retirement plan.
“We are also offering retention bonuses of $2,000 to our current agents who recruit new talent into our department.
Here in the City of Belfast, we are committed to strengthening our first responder workforce to be the leader in providing public safety services, not only here in Waldo County, but in the State of Maine.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining Belfast PD, they are asked to contact the police department at 207-338-2020, or complete an online application at cityofbelfast.org.
Belfast City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Meetings are taking place online using Zoom and can be streamed on the City of Belfast website. They are also broadcast live on BEL TV and Belfast Community Radio at WBFY 100.9.
Comments may also be submitted by email to the Board during the meeting. Comments will be presented to the Board.
Oral commentary can also be submitted during the meeting via the Zoom webinar. Information about this method can be found on the City’s website.
The information and documents relating to this meeting are available on the City’s website.
Erica Thoms can be contacted at [email protected]