Belfast councilors chose not to temporarily transfer the Maskers property to the recently created development corporation in order to use federal funding to conduct an environmental assessment.

The city approved transferring the Maskers property to the Belfast Development Corporation during a meeting Sept. 3. At that time, the city authorized the temporary transfer in order to secure a Brownfields Assessment Grant to help pay for addressing environmental concerns on the property, as well as to pursue additional  funding to clean up the property.

Before the city can demolish the Maskers building, it must conduct environmental site assessments.

However, Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge told councilors the initial decision that the city could not use the Brownfields funds to assess its own property was reversed, and the city could in fact use Brownfields funding to assess the Maskers property.

Prior to voting on whether the council wished to rescind the transfer of property, Councilor Eric Sanders asked if Kittredge would recommend dissolving the Belfast Development Corporation. Kittredge said he did not recommend dissolving the group because he felt there was a role for the development corporation.

Councilors unanimously voted to rescind the transfer of the Maskers property to the Belfast Development Corporation.

In other business:

Councilors approved and awarded bids for a heavy duty truck in the amount of $93,583.29 and a bid for a dump body and plow gear in the amount of $63,995 for the Public Works Department.

A request to transfer up to $1,500 from the Harbor Fuel accounts to pay for a new roof over the fuel storage tank was approved.

City officials listened to an update from Administrative Assistant Manda Cushman who discussed the availability of low power FM radio stations. Cushman said she contacted an engineer who informed there were two channels available in the Belfast area.

The city could apply to acquire one of the channels to be used to broadcast council meetings or for other purposes. Councilors approved a request from City Manager Joseph Slocum to spend up to $500 to hire an engineer to help file an application with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the availability of a low power FM channel. Cushman noted, however, that she was unsure if the government shutdown would impact the application process.

Councilors modified a previous authorization to allow the fire chief to waive the bidding requirements and purchase a used fire rescue vehicle for $39,000. The amended authorization allows the fire chief to spend up to $42,000 to purchase the fire rescue vehicle and pay for gas and travel expenses associated with picking it up in Pennsylvania, as well as new signage for the vehicle.

In addition, councilors amended a prior authorization to allow the fire chief to spend up to $89,000 to purchase an ambulance. The final cost of the vehicle is $89,500 and additional funds are needed to pay for travel expenses associated with retrieving the vehicle. Councilors authorized the fire chief to spend up to $92,500 to purchase and pick up the ambulance.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at