Belfast City Attorney Bill Kelly submitted a letter to City Council at its April 6 meeting stating that he will not renew his contract with the city.

Kelly has represented the city for 30 years and will continue to work privately in the area, he said in an email to The Republican Journal. He could not attend the council meeting because he was attending a meeting of the Islesboro School Board of which he is a member, according to Belfast Mayor Eric Sanders.

Kelly noted in his letter the success rates he has had representing the city in contested cases and complex development matters. Councilor Neal Harkness said the attorney had helped the city work through negotiations with Penobscot McCrum, property owner Paul Naron, Nordic Aquafarms and many other developments.

Councilor Mary Mortier said Kelly felt deeply that his job was to represent all Belfast residents. Kelly said in the letter that serving residents, particularly those who are never seen at City Hall, is of the utmost importance to him.

City Manager Erin Herbig said she feels thankful that he was there to help her during her first year as city manager. Sanders said the attorney has a very dry sense of humor and will be sorely missed.

Councilor Mike Hurley remembered when Kelly was hired as a young attorney, he said. He has worked with the lawyer for nearly 20 years on the council. “I want to thank Bill,” Hurley said. “I always felt sometimes he would veer off and give us political advice, but I really thank him for all of his legal advice and for all his service to the people of Belfast.”

Kelly will continue to represent the city until the fiscal year ends June 30.