Councilors approve funding request for new signage

Award salt and sand bids for winter
By Ben Holbrook | Aug 28, 2012

Belfast — City councilors approved a request for more funding to pay for the installation of new signs during their Tuesday, Aug. 21, meeting.

The request for additional sign funding was made by City Planner Wayne Marshall, who told councilors he exceeded his original budget of $13,000 after making adjustments to some signs. Some of the cost overrun was also attributed to the addition of two signs –– one on Searsport Avenue and one near the jug handle on Route 1 –– that were not identified among the original locations for the 15 signs.

Marshall said he was over budget by about $2,000, but that number would increase if councilors approved an additional two signs, which would direct drivers to the downtown area. The two new signs would be located near Waterfall Arts and the Belfast Fire Department, in addition to the installation of a sign about 400 feet south of the Church Street and High Street intersection, Marshall said.

Councilor Eric Sanders said he was concerned with locating a sign near the Church Street and High Street intersection, because people would end up in downtown Belfast regardless of which way they go. Councilor Nancy Hamilton suggested moving the sign further out onto Northport Avenue, which Marshall said he had considered.

Councilor Roger Lee said he didn’t believe the two additional signs were necessary, but did say he is concerned with the size of the lettering on the signs, which he believed was too small. During the public comment portion of the meeting, Belfast resident Rita Horsey told councilors she found the signs too difficult to read at night because the font size was too small.

Marshall said he thought the signs were easier to read at night, and said the visibility issue could be addressed if councilors opted to have the signs re-sized. Councilor Mike Hurley agreed with the sentiment that the type font on the signs was too small, but said the issue of re-sizing could be taken up at a later date.

“I don’t want to get into replacing them today, but I do think we’ll need to replace them at some point,” he said.

Hurley also noted that a parking sign to notify the public that there is parking available behind the Belfast Co-Op would be a valuable addition.

Marshall said he would not pursue the additional two signs, but said he needed the $2,000 to cover the work that had been completed to date. City Manager Joseph Slocum said the money could be taken from the city’s capital project account, which councilors approved.

Belfast Coin Operated Laundry

Councilors took no action in regard to a request from the Belfast Coin Operated Laundry to remove a tree on the property that would potentially block a portion of a new sign for the business. Councilor Roger Lee noted that the tree is located on private property and therefore the city has no jurisdiction over the removal of the tree.

Salt and sand bids

Councilors awarded the bids for salt and sand at the request of the Public Works Department. The salt bid was awarded to Harcros Chemicals Inc., located in Westbrook, for the amount of $57.18 per ton, with the city requesting 1,600 tons. Harcros Chemicals Inc., was the second-lowest bidder.

In a memo to councilors, Public Works Director Bob Richards noted that New England Salt Company was the lowest bidder, at $56 per ton. However, Richards inspected the salt and wrote that it was covered in coal dust. He also explained that the product, which he described as a "solar salt," was used in the past by the city, but it was wet and would freeze and clump, which meant it required re-screening.

The sand bid was awarded to Farley and Son Landscaping for the amount of $5.90 per yard, delivered. The bid is for 3,000 yards of sand and is $1 more per yard than last year’s bid, Richards wrote in the memo.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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