BELFAST — City Council agreed to authorize Harbormaster Katherine Given to apply for two grants, awarded a park concession to Must Be Nice Lobster Co. and voted to remove one city tree at its April 19 meeting.

Given will apply for a Harbor Management Access grant from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to build floats, according to documents submitted to the city manager ahead of the meeting.

If awarded, the maximum amount Belfast can receive is $15,000 and the city would have to match 25% of the funds. Councilors voted to use $3,000 cash from the Harbor Department ENK fund to match the grant. The city previously received a grant from the department for floats and to pave the launch ramp at the city landing.

The application is due May 6 and awards will be announced in early June.

Given will also apply for a Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Boating Facilities Fund grant to raise the height of the Harbor Office by 30 inches, according to meeting documents. The move is in response to projected sea-level rise and storm surge. It is one of the harbor’s capital improvement projects.

The funds will also be used to insulate the floor, replace the entrance doors, extend the electrical service and improve ADA accessibility to the structure. In 2018, the harbormaster received an estimate of $20,577.75 for the project from White Cap Builders  She expects the project to cost more now, but had not heard from White Cap Builders about a new estimate before the meeting.

She is budgeting $32,000 for project costs and $10,000 from the ENK Fund that the city would have to use for matching funds for the grant.

The maximum grant award is $150,000, with a 25% minimum matching funds requirement. If approved for the grant, the city can use some of the $135,000 from the Harbor Department ENK Fund to fund the project, then reimburse the fund when the city receives the grant.

In other business, councilors awarded Sadie Samuels the City Park concession stand this summer, upon recommendation from the City Parks and Recreation Commission and the Parks and Recreation Department.

She will operate her Must Be Nice Lobster Co. out of the stand, offering lobster rolls, mini lobster and crab rolls, grilled cheese, burgers, fries, ice cream and ice pops, Parks and Recreation Director Norm Poirier said at the meeting.

There were two other proposals from people who would have offered foods like fries, hot dogs, burgers, shaved ice and other treats that councilors rejected. Councilors thought Samuels was offering more of a variety to the public compared to the other two applicants.

Councilor Mike Hurley thought concession awards should automatically renew to the same vendor each year so there is more consistency from year to year.

In other business, all but one councilor voted to remove a tree on city property located at 7 Cottage St. City Manager Erin Herbig said the request came from the homeowner at that address and was put before the council by Public Works Director and Tree Warden Bob Richards.

The red maple has several laterals, two of which could have been pruned, she said, but there were several broken limbs on the tree.

Hurley said there should be a standard policy direction for the city arborist that defines what councilors want to see when they make a recommendation.

Councilor Brenda Bonneville asked what the removal policy is if a tree straddles private property and public property. She felt a lot of trees straddling public and private properties have come down, she said. She favored pruning trees before deciding to take them down.

Hurley said Richards would not have brought the tree to City Council if it were on private property. As a former tree warden, he said a tree poses a danger to the public and it straddles public and private property, then it is good to remove it.

Councilor Mary Mortier said she is not a fan of cabling compromised trees, which can cost as much as $3,000. It is cheaper to remove a tree that has a lot of decay. Councilor Paul Dean questioned how well the city takes care of its trees. He hopes that councilors can put a little more money toward trees in the upcoming city budget proposal.

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