COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Clark at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday September 1, 2020. County Administrator Scott Adkins and Deputy County Administrator Rebekah Knowlton were also in attendance, as well as several Department Heads. The meeting link was made available to the public on the Hancock County website.
Adjustments to agenda: none
Milissa Lalonde, representing Downeast Restorative Justice, asked if it was appropriate to make comments at this point or wait until Dept. 17 was discussed. CA Adkins said none of the applicants were notified that this discussion would take place, as he was waiting for the Commissions’ direction. The Commissioners agreed that Dept. 17 applicants will be able to address them at a later time.
MOTION: Approve the minutes of the August 4, 2020 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting and the minutes of the August 18, 2020 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Monthly report: Airport Manager Muise said the apron repair work should be completed by the 19th, within the deadline of September 30. The accounting work is now being handled by the Treasurer’s office. Muise is reconsidering the expectations of the administrative assistant position and will no longer run the ad.
MOTION: terminate the Land Lease Agreement with Bradley Madeira (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0 motion passed)
Madeira has sold his hangar; the land lease must be terminated and the new owner’s lease approved. Madeira has paid for the entire year and has requested a refund of the unused portion.
MOTION: approval to refund a portion of Madeira Lease in the amount of $1,753.12 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: approve the land lease agreement with Alexander Stwertka for parcel 13 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Accept resignation of Matthew Branco effective September 14, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: approve the revised Fire Protection/Emergency Response Agreement with the Municipality of Ellsworth for Fletcher’s Landing Township contingent on any objection from Millard at a later time (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
UT Supervisor Millard Billings was unavailable during the meeting time.
MOTION: accept resignation of Corrections Officer James Williams, Jr., effective September 9, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: approval to promote Rebecca Long to the rank of Corrections Sergeant, effective September 5, 2020 at pay rate set by Union Contract (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed )
Commissioner Blasi asked about 2 invoices that were labeled COVID cleaning. JA Richardson said this was not related to COVID- an inmate contaminated a cell and it required extra cleaning.
Monthly report- Facilities Director Dennis Walls said the Historical Society has engaged King Construction to perform the repair work to the outside of the old jail. Director Walls and Architect Sealander will review the punch list for the RCC Expansion project to be sure all details are resolved.
RCC Director Conary submitted his monthly report. He referenced several recent incidents requiring large scale coordination and pointed out the challenges stemming from a lack of volunteer firefighters.
MOTION: approve the modification of the Dispatch contract with the City of Ellsworth that we received (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
This is an update for additional services; this will include dispatching for medical services. The City requested that the contract be modified to reflect this.
The Commissioners acknowledged the retirement of Deeds Clerk Tracey Higgins, effective August 28, 2020 and thanked her for many years of service.
MOTION: approve the August warrant memo as presented by the Treasurer (Wombacher/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
The Treasurer’s memo listed the following:
August GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #20-31, #20-32, #20-33 and #20-34 in the aggregate amount of $371,373.74;
August GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #20-43, #20-44, #20-45, #20-46, #20-47, and #20-48 in the aggregate amount of $647,866.61;
August UT Payroll Warrants #21-5, #21-6-, #21-7 #21-8 in the aggregate of $1,097.99;
August UT Expense Warrants #21-3 and #21-4 in the aggregate of $7,218.63
Treasurer Boucher said many of the older AR accounts have been eliminated, which has been the goal. Boucher said we will be prepared to pay the TAN on December 31. As of August 31 we have collected 21.38% of taxes; the prior month we collected only 2.09% of taxes
Review of CBA/TIF report-
There was some discussion on the transfer of the funds labeled “red fire truck”. Treasurer Boucher said the transfer of the Red Fire Truck is now in the CB undesignated fund balance. After reviewing, the Commission agreed there were several questions that could not be answered today and agreed to look at this again in a future meeting when more detail is available.
Commissioner Clark suggested putting off discussion of Dept. 17 and transfers. He said the primary function of county government is to provide county services such as law enforcement, corrections, probate, and deeds, and these should be the focus. The Dept. 17 requests are all worthwhile projects that we should consider but should prioritize government services first and then consider them. Commissioner Clark said this is not the year to ask our employees to go without some sort of COLA, particularly when they’ve worked so valuably and diligently during this time. He referenced the Town of Hancock letter encouraging the Commission to hold the line on County taxes. He said if we want to do that, Dept. 17 may be a part of that. Commissioner Blasi said he agreed on some points; he said his basic disagreement was about employee pay for non-contract employees. He said they could consider a COLA, but after a lot of work.
Dept. 4 –Commissioners
Commissioner Blasi wanted to keep the salary lines the same as 2020 figures. Commissioner Clark thought it was unfair to the non-contract employees. Commissioner Wombacher said he did not oppose not increasing the Commissioner salary lines, but had a problem not increasing the employees’. He said we’ve spent the last two years increasing wages to attract good employees and if we have to make adjustments elsewhere we’ll do that. They agreed to make no increases to the Commissioner salary lines; the other salary lines will remain as proposed. Line 07-100 travel / mileage was reduced to $2,500. Line 07-600 training/registrations was reduced to $1,000. Line 20-200 was reduced to $500. Line 30-110 legal fees was reduced to $2,500. Line 30-200 Professional Services was reduced to $1,000. Line 30-205 advertising was reduced to $750. The Commission agreed to cut line 70-100 Equipment to $0. They agreed to cut Orthoimagery to $0 and will look to move this at the end of the year.
Colebank v. Town of Sullivan Appeal deliberations-
Commissioner Wombacher said he did not see that this property was assessed unfairly, there was no special treatment for this property, no difference in how it was assessed. He said he is not in favor of an abatement. Commissioner Blasi said he thought the State may need to look at their assessment standard. He asked what data showed overassessment; he said the assessment versus fair market value seems to be a subjective interpretation. He said he is not in favor of granting the abatement. Commissioner Clark said Mr. Colebank made an admirable case for waterfront property owners being assessed unfairly when compared to non-waterfront and he may have a case for class action but found no evidence to suggest he was being singularly unfairly assessed. He did not favor granting the abatement.
MOTION: we deny the abatement and have as part of our statement of fact “the applicant made an admirable case for waterfront property owners being unfairly assessed when compared to non-waterfront owners but the applicant failed to show unfair assessment when compared to other waterfront owners (Clark/Wombacher – motion withdrawn
MOTION: deny the applicant’s abatement request (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: include in the statement of fact “the applicant made an admirable case for waterfront property owners being unfairly assessed when compared to non-waterfront owners but the applicant failed to show unfair assessment when compared to other waterfront owners” (Clark/no second offered
There was some discussion about the statement of fact that the Commissioners will sign. The Commissioners agreed that the statements made today will be included in the statement of fact.
Break 10:23- 10:38
Dept. 5 –Treasurer
The Commissioners agreed to reduce the travel and training lines to $500 and $750. Line 10-001 Office was reduced to $2,500. There was some discussion about TAN interest. Commissioner Blasi did not want to budget for a TAN at all. Commissioner Wombacher said he’d rather budget for it in case it is needed. Commissioner Clark wanted to show gross revenue earned and a line for interest paid and legal fees. The Commissioners agreed to change the line to TAN legal fees and keep at $2,100. Revenue line 200 PILT was increased to $20,000.
Dept. 7 –RCC
The Commission agreed to change contracts to $158,000 to reflect actions taken today regarding the contract with Ellsworth.
The Commissioners agreed to reduce line 01-500 Overtime to $110,000. Line 70-100 Equipment was reduced to $0.
Dept. 8 –Probate
No change from 2020.
Line 07-100 Travel was reduced to $3,000. Line 07-600 Train / Reg. was reduced to $1,500.
The Commissioners agreed to reduce line 10-002 Postage to $2,500.
Deputy Registrar Velma Jordan explained that line 30-105 Statutes involves a contract that was signed last fall that goes through Sept of 2022. The line was increased to S4,000 although this may not be enough.
Dept. 20 -Health Insurance
Line 05-300 Health Insurance was reduced to $1,050,000
Line 05-320 Health Ins. Buyouts was reduced to $34,500
These are tentative numbers and may change upon further review.
Next meeting will be September 15, 2020 at 8:30 a.m.
MOTION: to adjourn 1:00 p.m. (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
Deputy County Administrator