The Belfast City Council took another step in its quest to hire a full-time economic development director Jan. 19, approving a job description and voting to proceed with the hiring process.

According to the job description drafted by City Manager Joe Slocum, the economic development director would report directly to the city manager and “provide supplemental support to the city manager and city planner.”

The economic development director would pursue the goals outlined in the 2010 Belfast Economic Plan. On Tuesday, the Council approved a draft version of this plan and signed a council order earmarking $100,000 from the city’s general fund to pay for the first year of the new position.

The new hire would be responsible for giving professional economic advice, presumably to business owners, and “serve as an advocate for economic development in line with the Belfast Comprehensive Plan.” The Council adopted the land use portion of the updated plan in October. The Belfast Comprehensive Plan Committee is currently working on other aspects of the plan.

Also included in the job description is a charge to promote the Belfast Business Park, act as a liaison between the city and other organizations and agencies, including Maine Eastern Development Corporation, Knox/Waldo Regional Economic Development Council, and state and federal agencies.

The director would make an inventory of available business and residential sites, prepare grant applications, formulate a marketing plan and business attraction strategies for Belfast, monitor legislation related to economic development, aid in contract negotiations, attend professional development workshops and otherwise “keep abreast of trends and developments in the field of economic development.”

Opinions differed on how wide a net to cast, with some councilors wanting to search only in Maine and others expressing an interest in looking further, perhaps nationally.

In other business, the Council:

Heard from City Planner Wayne Marshall, who said the city has been “targeted” for a second $100,000 traffic-calming grant. The first grant was used to make improvements to the intersection of routes 1 and 141.

Approved a request from the Waldo County YMCA to hold a triathlon in Belfast May 15. The Council approved two EMTs, three police officers, use of public works signage, and gave permission to hang banners at three city locations. The YMCA agreed to pay all costs associated with the request.

Heard a presentation from Pedestrian, Hiking and Biking Committee Chairwoman Marty Packer about the need for sidewalks in some areas outside of the immediate downtown, particularly on the Main Street/Route 3 corridor between downtown and the University of Maine Hutchinson Center.