City councilors nominated members of the withdrawal committee, while the city manager updated officials on the possible options for Belfast to pursue when considering leaving Regional School Unit 20.

The four-member withdrawal committee will be comprised of Councilor Eric Sanders, RSU 20 Director Alan Wood, petitioner Joan Crabiel and Wayne Corey representing a member of the general public.

In the coming weeks the group will work to craft a withdrawal agreement that will be submitted to the state and to the RSU 20 school board for approval.

After appointing members to the withdrawal committee, councilors listened to an update from City Manager Joseph Slocum on his efforts to identify potential consultants to analyze the financial impact of withdrawal.

Slocum said the analysis could address a number of scenarios, such as what the impact would be if the city chooses to stay in RSU 20; what a School Administrative District 34 configuration would like; and what would happen if the city becomes a stand alone district.

He also stated that one of the challenges with attempting to identify consultants is that there aren't any firms that specialize in withdrawal-related matters.

Discussion concluded with Slocum encouraging anyone with ideas about what information should be included in his draft proposal for the withdrawal analysis.

In other business

Councilors awarded a bid in the amount of $26,927 to Quirk Ford for the purchase of a 2014 Ford Utility Police Interceptor.

A request from Parks and Recreation Director Norm Poirier to replace a set of stairs in Belfast City Park leading to the beach was approved. Funding for the replacement stairs will be taken from the Parks Capital Reserve account.

Councilors accepted the Pendleton Award for Community Partnership, an annual award given to an individual or organization that has demonstrated the ability to partner with Sweetser in a positive and supportive manner.

Director of Video Services Ned Lightner requested funding to purchase software that will allow City Council meetings to be indexed online. The software costs $3,660 and funding would be taken from surplus if Slocum is unable to find funding elsewhere in the city budget.

Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge updated councilors on grant opportunities to fund the development of a recreational trail along the city-owned rail corridor. Kittredge said the city was looking at applying for a $200,000 grant, but was advised by the state that the city's application may not score well because the federal government has not yet told the city it can abandon the rail line to construct the trail.

Kittredge said it would be better to wait until next year to potentially apply for the $200,000 grant and in the meantime, he would seek out other grant opportunities.

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