BELFAST — Councilors voted at their Oct. 19 meeting to put two tax-foreclosed properties out to bid and to remove nine dead or dying trees on city property. The properties are located at 39 Smart Road and 1.36 acres on Marsh Road.

City Manager Erin Herbig said staff thought the market was favorable enough to put both properties out to bid. She has had several inquiries from people about the Smart Road property, which has been abandoned and needs to be cleaned up.

The city foreclosed on both properties in 2019 because of outstanding taxes dating back to 2016, Finance Director Theresa Butler said. Owners of both properties were not interested in regaining them. The 0.48 acre lot on Smart Road is valued by the city at $52,000 and the Marsh Road property is valued at $10,500.

City Councilor Mike Hurley posed the question of holding onto the parcels in the event that the city wants to use them. “I don’t know that the Smart Road or the other is anything in the future that we want to actually, might want to reserve for something other than just selling it,” he said.

He said there was a piece of property the city put out to bid in the Little River watershed about a year before Nordic Aquafarms proposed its fish farm to councilors, adding that the water on that property would have been good to reserve.

It is unknown when the properties will be sold.

In other business, councilors agreed to remove nine trees that are dead or dying. They are at 69 Lincolnville Ave., 53 Lincolnville Ave., 26 Congress St., 16 Armstrong Road, 16 Church St., 224 High St., two at 8 Church St. and one at 16 Huntress Ave.

Councilor Brenda Bonneville asked why new trees are not planted in place of removed trees. Councilor Mary Mortier said some spaces where trees are removed cannot accommodate a new tree planted in their place because of telephone wires or underground city sewage and water infrastructure, among other reasons. Planting a new tree in an old tree’s spot is not as simple as people think.

“These trees were planted 100-plus years ago, these beautiful street trees,” she said. “We didn’t have the poles and wires and these things necessarily that we have now. … Now we have these beautiful old trees that have been sculpted by guys with chainsaws and measuring sticks and they look pretty odd and strange. And it’s unfortunate, but that’s the way of the modern world, with technology and wires and all of that.”