The Rockland City Council agreed Feb. 16 that Central Maine Power should be asked to halt its tree trimming work in Rockland for this season.

The council directed City Manager Rosemary Kulow to contact the electrical utility and ask that it stop the trimming until next winter. The stoppage would allow the city time to have an arborist advise officials on the best trimming methods. It would also allow the city to negotiate with CMP on the work.

The council met for more than two hours on Feb. 16 to review the recommendations of the city’s Energy Efficiency Committee, which has held meetings on the tree cutting controversy.

Councilors came to little agreement other than to have the city manager hire an arborist and work with CMP and the city’s advisory committees.

“It’s a big state; they can do other areas,” Mayor Deborah McNeil said.

The tree cutting on behalf of CMP by ABC Professional Tree Services stopped in Rockland on Feb. 1 after the council decided to hold a public hearing. State law mandates that a utility halt such work until a hearing is held. The hearing was held Feb. 11 but no action was taken.

The Feb. 16 meeting was an opportunity for the council to discuss the energy committee’s recommendations, McNeil said.

Resident Floyd Montgomery of North Main Street added to the criticism of work done by the tree cutters, telling councilors that he told CMP he wanted to be informed in advance if it was going to cut on his property again. Instead, the tree firm cut off the top of a large maple tree, he said.

He asked councilors to seek a halt to the cutting.

Montgomery also pointed out that this was not the first such criticism of CMP. He asked why problems that occurred in other communities had not been corrected before the cutting began in Rockland.

Former Councilor Adele Grossman Faber said since CMP was in violation of the state law on adequate public notice prior to cutting, the city should seek a halt to the cutting this season.

Also at the meeting, artist and gallery owner Jonathan Frost said he was withdrawing his offer made to the city last week to match its funding for arborist work.

Frost said the tree company that would have provided the work did not owe him money but had agreed to do the work at no charge in exchange for a painting.

The council refused to accept the donation last week, saying the city manager should decide which arborist the city should hire.

“I’m withdrawing the offer, not out of bitterness, but it’s become too complicated,” Frost said.