The Belfast Skatepark needs your support

February 15, 2014

I am forwarding this as written. I’m not a fan of all caps…. but I am a fan of the skate park and downtown vitality and keeping kids as part of society and not banishing them. The skate park needs your support: please take a moment to read this and send a letter of support to the email address at the end.

TO THE FRIENDS OF THE ERIC OVERLOCK MEMORIAL SKATEPARK:
WE NEED AN EMAIL FROM YOU TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!
THE PARK HAS SERVED US WELL AS A STATE OF THE ART PARK FOR ITS TIME; BUT LIKE ALL OF THE WOOD FRAMED RAMPS IN MAINE THEIR TIME IS LIMITED OUT IN THE ELEMENTS.
HERE IS OUR “SHORT TERM” PLAN: IT IS TIME TO REPAIR THE PARK TO MAKE IT SAFE BY REPLACING BROKEN FRAMING MEMBERS, REPLACING ROTTEN SUBSHEATHING, AND REPLACING BROKEN FASTENERS. WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN A 4 FOOT HIGH BY 24 FOOT WIDE HALFPIPE THAT WOULD FIT PERFECTLY IN PLACE OF THE NOW GONE VERTICAL HALFPIPE. THIS RAMP IS USER FREINDLY FOR ALL ABILITY LEVELS AND WOULD BE A GREAT ADDITION.
WE WILL NEED TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE MATERIALS FOR THE REPAIRS. THE DONATED HALFPIPE NEEDS NEW SURFACING,(SKATELITE), SAFETY RAILS AND A SET OF STAIRS. WE ARE ESTIMATING THE MATERIAL COSTS TO BE 5 OR 6 THOUSAND DOLLARS. WE NEED TO START RAISING MONEY NOW IN ORDER TO GET THE PARK READY FOR SUMMER. FUNDRAISING RAISING IDEAS SO FAR INCLUDE: BOTTLE DRIVES, BATTLE OF THE BANDS CONCERT, LOCAL ART AUCTION, AND SKATEBOARD RELATED MOVIE FEATURED AT THE COLONIAL AS A BENEFIT. WE ARE WORKING ON FINDING A NON PROFIT THAT WILL ACT AS OUR TREASURER SO THAT WE CAN START COLLECTING DONATIONS. IF YOU CAN HELP WITH ANY OF THESE THINGS INCLUDING THE CARPENTRY WORK, PLEASE LET US KNOW. ANY OTHER FUNDRAISING IDEAS WOULD BE APPRECIATED AS WELL.
OUR “LONG TERM” GOAL WILL BE TO START PLANNING FOR A PERMANENT CONCRETE REPLACEMENT THAT WILL BE MAINTENANCE FREE, QUIET,MORE USER FRIENDLY, AND A BIT LESS OF AN EYESORE. BUILDING A NEW SKATEPARK IS VERY EXPENSIVE AND WILL TAKE LOTS OF TIME AND SUPPORT.

PLEASE SEND US YOUR EMAIL OF SUPPORT FOR THIS CAUSE TO: JOANNEPARENTART@GMAIL.COM, AS WE ARE COMPILING LETTERS TO TAKE TO THE CITY TO SHOW THEM HOW MUCH THIS PARK MEANS TO OUR TOWN!

Is Belfast Becoming Gentrified?

February 14, 2014

Good article in the Bangor Daily News read all about it and don’t miss the “comment” section or you will be sorry. :)

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/02/12/news/midcoast/is-belfast-becoming-gentrified-locals-hope-it-wont-lose-its-gritty-spirit/?ref=comments

my letter to the editor and to you: I am running for the Belfast City Council….

November 1, 2013

 

I’m Mike Hurley and I am running for the Belfast City Council. Even without anyone else for you to choose from I am still running. Four years ago I was elected to the council after  two years out of city government and these four years have been a productive time. I came back primarily  because the economy locally was not in good shape. I believed then and I still do that the city should be an active supporter to stoke the fire of job creation and get Belfast moving. The City can’t start jobs but we can support the essentials  that are the foundation of a healthy local economy; first by hiring the city economic development director Thomas Kittredge and that has been a tremendous success, helping to underwrite the fledgling and now vibrant Main Street program  Our Town Belfast which brought stable energized support and organization to the downtown, supporting the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce was also critical to creating a joint force that has shaped and built the success we are seeing today. We helped make the soil fertile and so much has taken root in the last four years. I still want more.

I grew up in a big working class family torn by divorce with my saint of a mother struggling and working four jobs at a time to provide her six children a home, my grandparents worked in tire factories, cleaned houses, worked in factories and on the railroad. I know what it is to be poor and fight to pay bills. I know how a paycheck makes a difference in how we live. So I’ve had a special place in my heart to make it better here for people and for their children hopefully to have good jobs to stay or to come back home. I feel we are making progress on this front. But I want more.

But we can’t just work- work- work. All along I have supported things that make it fun to live here: The Belfast Street Party, Celtic Celebration , Belfast Summer Nights, The Farmers Market, New Years By the Bay, Art Walks, Belfast Free Range Music Festival, and so many great events put on by an army of groups and volunteers. Belfast is famous for having something going on all the time. I want more.

The council and city has had some great successes: working with Front Street Shipyard to make their entry here a possibility and a success, building the Harbor Walk, and doing the many years of complicated work to both find a permanent home for the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad and starting on the Rail Trail. We still have more to do.

Here’s what I promise to keep working on for Belfast

·         Finding the best solution for the challenge of the organization and funding our schools,

·         Bringing small private business, residential, and offices to the Belfast Maskers/ Railroad Depot property on the waterfront. We will continue to work on this complex redevelopment and I promise to do my best to “get it right.”

·         One of my first efforts as council member was the failed attempt to bring an event center, performance space, or auditorium to Belfast. We still need a space for celebrations, concerts, events, meetings, conferences: I’ll keep trying and I hope the council will help find a solution for this missing piece of Belfast’s social and business life.

·         Building the Passy Rail Trail.

·         I promise to listen to the people of Belfast and work hard to make your voices heard.

·         There’s more but the list could get way too long.   

 

When I ran for Council my signs had flames printed on top of my name. Why? I am on fire for Belfast. I have been for more than thirty years. I’m older, I am wiser, I am definitely more tired, but I still want more for Belfast and I am still on fire. I am asking you to please vote for me to show your support. I’ll do my best to not let you down. Thank you. Mike Hurley

I am still on fire for Belfast

October 28, 2013

I put up a couple of my signs. I have no opponent for the council seat. I am still asking you to vote for me so that I know you support what I work on. I am on fire for Belfast. Is that the same as being hot?

Sept. 17th vote YES on RSU budget

September 16, 2013

Tuesday September 17th is the latest vote to approve or reject the RSU 20 school budget. I don’t know anyone that is happy about the budget or the RSU 20 situation. What is clear to almost everyone is that the RSU 20 as it stands today is broken and we need a new model for the future. But right now we need to get the budget out of the way. I am going to vote for this budget. I am going to vote to pass the budget. I urge you to vote yes. It’s not a budget to be excited for: there are too many schools, far too high costs, too many athletic teams, too many cuts to things parents and kids want like art, music, language, and security but it will not get better this year. This year we have to hunker down and push through. Maybe next year as well. The mess we are in will not be solved in a single meeting, vote, or budget debate. I want to move on so we can get to the real issue: how do we reset our education system so it is acclaimed and beloved rather than an ongoing train wreck? Please vote this Tuesday. I will vote Yes.

vote

June 10, 2013

don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. Your taxes, your schools, your community needs your vote.

and furthermore

June 2, 2013

Back when RSU 20 was proposed I supported the idea very loosely, not that it was actually my business, but everyone, or enough of everyone, thought it would be a good idea. I hope I don’t have to remind people that it was a rocky start and the road led us to where we are today. After a few short years Frankfort withdrew taking their financial support. Things came to a boil in the general public and many people, parents, educators, school administrators, the public, a lot of public began talking about withdrawal. It wasn’t about cost increases because those had yet to come down in the way they have today. They simply were not happy with the new RSU and they wanted out. The state had set up an incredibly difficult withdrawal process but they wanted to try.
First; six towns had to gather signatures sufficient to bring the issue to their town meetings and for Belfast to take it to a city wide election referendum. The signature gathering was done and all six towns passed the withdrawal. The structure was such that each town then had to form a committee to create a plan for withdrawal and all six towns chose to work together. All the towns did that. Belfast provided funding for the committee including a lawyer to assist them on the way. That committee worked for nearly a year creating a plan for withdrawal. They did so against unrelenting foot dragging and a lack of cooperation from RSU 20 administration and the school board. In the end; the withdrawal committee and RSU 20 administration and the school board agreed to a plan that was approved by the towns and the state board of education. At the time it was agreed by the committee and the RSU 20 administration and board that had the budget reflected the withdrawal the six towns budget would have been 1.3 million dollars less. The withdrawal committee believed it to be closer to 1.75 million but the two groups agreed on the 1.3 million savings. It’s a conceptual number in any event because the budget will be whatever eventually gets approved by the voters. And if there’s a new RSU or SAD who knows what the budget will be? Hard choices will continue to need to be made. There is no guarantee of savings.
Today; people question the entire democratic and open to the public process that required nearly a year’s effort by volunteers who did their best to do what the voters told them to do: create a plan for withdrawal and bring it back to the voters to decide yes or no on that plan. As it has been said; everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.
I attended many of the meetings and watched many more of them on public TV. They were available on the web if anyone wanted to see the process taking place. I respect the voters and the committees that worked to create the plan that will be decided on at the polls. The committee was a diverse representation and they struggled to find common and uneven ground. I thank them for their service.
This hasn’t happened just here in our area. RSU’s are failing everywhere in Maine, not all of them, but many are going through the same process we are today. For the exact same reasons. They’re not happy and they want out.
The increase in the budget in Belfast is from 10.37 in 2010 to 10.94 in 2011, to 11.8 in 2012, to the 13.33 for 2013 that was proposed and has since been increased at the public meeting to what will probably exceed 14. This is dramatic. It’s an increase of 3.63 in three years and means a tax increase of 363.00 for a house worth 100,000.00. The withdrawal didn’t start over budget increases but surely we have to ask a simple question. We were told that consolidation would be good and cost less. We were not told that Frankfort would withdraw and the radical income tax cuts for Maine’s wealthiest would be coming. If we had not consolidated would we be where we are today? I don’t think so. We’d have saved a lot of time and aggravation and in my opinion would not be looking at this kind of tax increase and district wide dysfunction. And if all of this that has been going on isn’t dysfunction please tell me what is. When you have huge increases after you’ve cut a lot of what people value people have a right to demand change.
As a city council member my main concern is not school budgets or county budgets. We have plenty to do and work on without doing double duty on schools. That’s what school boards and administrations are for. But stuff flows downhill, when that tax bill arrives it comes from the city or town you live in and I do get to hear from people impacted by large tax increases. Their concerns are real and merit my respect. I know there’s no easy answers and a lot of blame to go around for what got us into this mess. The question before us is will withdrawal be a step towards getting us out of the hole? Will it be better for education and for taxpayers? I believe it will be at least a step in the right direction.

RSU 20 again…. RSU? Bad for everyone. Lets get this done.

June 1, 2013

As proposed the RSU 20 school budget will add 4 mills to the City of Belfast tax rate. (4.00 per 1000.00) That means an additional 400.00 in one year if you own a hundred thousand dollar home. This is the result of the State of Maine cutting income taxes and lowering ever more the state’s dismal support for education. Shame on all of the “public servants” in Augusta. The increases are also due to the well-intentioned but failed consolidation of RSU 20. On June 11th there will be a vote on the budget and whether Belfast, Belmont, Waldo, Northport, Swanville, and Searsmont should withdraw from RSU 20 and return to the SAD 34 model. There is no question that the consolidation has failed and the proof is in the continuing rancor and skyrocketing costs. RSU 20 has turned out to be bad for every town in the district and it will be better for all the towns when we move forward by going back to what worked. Everyone was better off before RSU 20. Special elections are notoriously hard to get people out to vote. If we do not get a good enough turnout and the RSU withdrawal fails we will be faced with years of tax increases, damaged programs, decreased school safety, inevitable school closings, and long distance bussing. I urge you to get out and vote. Get your neighbors to vote. Vote early at your town or city office. Let’s get this done.
Mike Hurley
Belfast, Maine

Support Withdrawal of RSU 20

May 23, 2013

I am all for the withdrawal of the six towns that used to be SAD 34 and joined with SAD 56 to become RSU 20. Here is why: it is not working. It is not what was promised. It is worse rather than better. It is far far more expensive than was promised. Primarily I am tired of ever increasing school budgets and tax bills and will do anything that helps lower the costs. Vote now. Go to your clerk and you can vote now. But vote. The votes will be taken June 11. Please support the renewal of our school system.

Do you know someone who wants to help with the Rail Trail?

May 23, 2013

Mike Hurley wrote the following: I need help. I just met with Kristen Lindquist of Coastal Mountains Land Trust and she asked me to help her. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. The City of Belfast is on a fast track to build the Belfast Rail Trail from the downtown edge of Penobscot McCrumm Potato plant under the tall Route One bridge nearly two miles to where the rail crosses Oak Hill Road next to the City Point Rail Museum and yard. The trail will be wide, packed granite dust and perfect for walkers, strollers, bikes, runners, cross country skiing, etc. Construction is planned to be started in spring of 2014 and completed next summer. The trail will share the north end with the rail yard.

Coastal Mountains Land Trust cares for a number of important Belfast properties that are near the Rail Trail. CMLT has pledged to raise the entire funds needed to construct the rail trail, build rest rooms and parking at the north end, and gather funds to care for the trail. But they need help. Kristen asked me who to suggest to help them by joining the committee but I recognized that I know a lot of people but I don’t know everyone who would want to be a part of this effort. This is where I need your help. Do you want to help CMLT and Belfast in this exciting fast project? Would you like to be a part of this? Do you know someone who you think would like to help? Do you know someone who’d like to support the project? Please share this to your Facebook page send me a private message, an email at mike@pilut.com, or call me at 338-1975. Please spread the word and let’s get walking! Thank you for your help.

http://www.penbaypilot.com/article/belfast-rail-trail-likely-meet-tourist-train-city-point/13934


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