Commissioners Regular Meeting

Commissioner Shea called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:02 a.m. on Monday, February 11, 2008in the conference room at the County Courthouse in Ellsworth, with Commissioners Brown and Lawson in attendance.


  • As the Emergency Management Monthly Report was received prior to the meeting, Director Pinkham asked if there were any questions. 
  • Storage space was discussed.  Commissioner Shea will speak to Glen Crawford about the possibility of renting space to the county.
  • Director Pinkham received a quote, in August, from Seacoast Security on the installation of 8 panic buttons in the amount of $1,330.00.  This quote was guaranteed for 30 days and Director Pinkham estimated the amount would increase to approximately $1,500.00. The installation comes with a one year warranty, and there is no monthly fee.  A maintenance plan can be purchased for $7.95 per month.
  • The Andrew Peter’s Building would require a repeater due to the distance from the building to the RCC.

MOTION: move to appropriate up to $1,500.00 from account #04-30-200, Professional Services, for the purchase of a security system for the Courthouse. (Shea/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Deferred Sentencing:

  • Dr. Dimond decreased the amount of funding requested from $44,000.00 to $36,000.00.  Dr. Dimond explained to the commissioners that money in his account had to be “fenced” and be carried over to July 1, 2008 due to the State Funding crisis.
  • Dr. Dimond stated that they should hear in the next week if a grant from Stephen King will be granted.
  • The committee needs to define criteria, and decide to decrease accepting new clients into the program. If it is known that the program would end in six months, then they would have to stop accessing new clients.  Dr. Dimond commented that he is not sure if the state will give any funding, but should know by mid-March.
  • Dr. Dimond stated that he can make it until June without extra funding, but if given funding from the King grant and from Hancock County, the program can make it to the end of the year.  The request from Hancock County would be a one time request.

MOTION:  do not fund Deferred Sentencing Project for 2008 (Brown/Shea)

Discussion: After further discussion, Commissioner Brown amended his motion to the following.

MOTION: move to deny bridge funding to year 2008 as requested. (Brown/Shea 1-2, motion failed)

Commissioner Shea called for a vote on the original motion:

MOTION: do not fund Deferred Sentencing Project for 2008 (Brown/Shea 1-2, motion failed)

  • Commissioner Lawson requested postponing the discussion until March when we have learned if the grant application was funded.
  • Treasurer Crowley explained to the commissioners that the State of Maine budget year Dr. Dimond is referring to begins on July 1, 2008 and ends on June 30, 2009.
  • Dr. Dimond stated that if the grant comes through, he will not need additional funding, but wants to be assured funding is available if the grant does not go through.

MOTION: move that we postpone this discussion to the next commissioner’s regular meeting where we will know about the King grant application and where the legislature will lead. (Lawson/Shea, 2-1 motion passed) Brown opposed.


  • Dr. Dimond presented the commissioners with renewal contracts for Maine Pretrial Services and Substance Abuse Treatment services effective January 1 through December 31, 2008. Each contract states that either party can terminate the contract, for any reason, with thirty days notice.

MOTION: move to authorize the chair to endorse the contracts for Maine Pretrial Services and Substance Abuse Treatment Services. (Lawson/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)


  • Malcolm Ulmer from the MCCA Risk Pool was present to present the commissioners with a check in the amount of $2,089.98 which represents a partial return of Hancock County’s 2005 member assessment.  Mr. Ulmer discussed the process that considered the county’s share and how the assessment was calculated.
  • Commissioner Shea commented that he would like to work closely with Mr. Ulmer to develop a health coverage program that is identical or better than what we currently have.  Mr. Ulmer suggested two programs: one that closely matches what we currently have and one that is similar but more standard and may be less expensive.
  • Commissioner Shea asked if it is possible to get pricing information by mid-August due to the budget process.  Commissioner Shea would like the county clerk to contact Mr. Ulmer in July 2008, after receiving the 3rd quarter report on losses, to design a program which includes retirees.
  • Commissioner Brown discussed establishing a reserve account entitled “Safety”.


The following monthly bills and warrants were presented for approval.

  • Commissioner Shea commented on the expense warrant that a policy change needs to be made that states contracts are not to be paid off in January for the entire year.  The commissioners were in agreement that all contracts should be reviewed and signed by the commissioners.
  • Commissioner Shea is going to request an item be placed on the March agenda to adopt a policy regarding commissioner’s signatures on contracts.  Treasurer Crowley suggested that the county clerk send a memo to all Department Heads that contracts need to be reviewed and signed by the commissioners.
  • Treasurer Crowley stated that TD Bank North is charging a $500.00 fee and requesting payment.  Treasurer Crowley will contact Union Trust to see if they would manage the bond, and move the bond from TD Bank North to Union Trust.
  • Treasurer Crowley will notify all department heads that the auditors are scheduled to come the week of February 25th.

MOTION: move the approval of Payroll Warrants #08-01, #08-01A, #08-01B, #08-02, #08-03, #08-03A,  #08-04 and #08-05 in the amount of $336,685.12. (Lawson/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: move to approve Expense warrants #008-001, #008-002, #008-003, #008-004 in the amount of $1,765,128.48. (Lawson/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: move approval of UT Warrant #8 in the amount of $15, 922.06. (Lawson/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: move to approve 2007 Overdraft Requests as presented in the amount of $60,042.29 (Lawson/Brown, 3-0 motion passed.)

MOTION: move to approve 2007 Overdraft/Budget Transfer Reserves as presented in the amount of $56,480.00 and $4,597.03. (Lawson/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)

  • Treasurer Crowley submitted her recommendations for 2007 reserve fund allocations.
  • Treasurer Crowley will address the auditors on the allowable surplus for 2006 and if it needs to be adjusted.
  • The 2007 Employee Benefit Reserve requirement includes the 53rd Employee pay week.
  • Commissioner Shea suggested placing $50,000.00 into the technology reserves as undesignated funds.  These funds may be used to update dispatching frequencies, computers, and the phone system.

MOTION: move to set up reserves for the adult program in the Jail in the amount of $10,312.00, designate $16,500.00 and $9,955.00 to cover the drug agent benefits and town contract account, increase the undesignated fund balance to the maximum allowed by statutes in the amount of $760.00, transfer $50,000.00 into the technology reserve account, and the remaining balance of $96,182.00 be placed into an account designated for unanticipated 2008-2009 operating expenses.  (Shea/Lawson, 3-0 motion passed)


MOTION: move to add an emergent item: the City of Ellsworth’s request of $1,500.00 to help fund the preparation of a grant to convert the Bryant E. Moore School into a public Safety building. (Lawson/Shea, 2-1 motion passed) Brown opposed.

  • Commissioner Brown stated his objections on placing this item on the agenda.  He stated that persons would like to comment on what the County of Hancock’s participation should be.  Commissioner Shea stated that the City of Ellsworth needed an immediate answer. Commissioner Lawson suggested to Commissioner Brown that he may want to place an item on the March agenda.

MOTION: move to approve the use of funds from the professional services account in the amount of $1,500.00 to participate with the City of Ellsworth in the application for this grant. (Lawson/Shea, 2-1) Brown opposed.

11:45 p.m. break for lunch
12:40 back in session

RCC 9-1-1 Center:

  • The RCC/E-9-1-1 Center monthly report was submitted via e-mail prior to the meeting.
  • Commissioner Shea asked the extent of County Ambulance’s interest in joining the RCC. Director Dunno was not sure as Med Com has raised prices and Med Com is unsure if they will provide Emergency Medical Dispatch services.  Due to the large volume of transfers that County Ambulance provides, Director Dunno is questioning if County Ambulance would provide someone “in house” to handle the transfers.
  • Commissioner Shea questioned if Director Dunno had an opportunity to research the commissioner’s request for night time dispatching. Director Dunno stated they would need to add two additional employees.
  • The frequencies in the emergency trailer need to be updated and RCC employees would need to be trained in the use of the trailer equipment.

1:05 p.m.
Department Head evaluation.

1:50 pm
Department Head evaluation concluded.


  • Register Cousins requested to use funds from account #08-70-150 Storage File Reserves, to pay for two storage filing cabinets in the amount of $1,239.98.

MOTION: move to use funds from account #08-70-150, Storage File Reserves, in the amount $1,239.98 to pay for two storage file cabinets. (Lawson/Shea, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: move to take $7000.00 out of #08-70-700, Probate Preservation Surcharge and place it into #08-70-150, Storage File Reserve. (Lawson/Shea, 3-0 motion passed)

  • Register Cousins requested the commissioners give permission to purchase a large document digital image scanner as well as a scanner that converts microfilm to digital imaging in the amount of $2,000.00.  Commissioner Lawson stated that the microfilm scanner should take at least six frames.

MOTION: move to authorize the Register to appropriate not more than $2,000.00 from account #08-70-150 Storage File Reserves to purchase digital imaging scanners with probate liaison Commissioner Lawson’s signature. (Brown/Shea, 3-0 motion passed)


Tim Cote was recognized for 20 years of employment and Michelle Cote was recognized for 10 years of employment with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.  The Commissioners applauded their dedication to service.


  • Sheriff Clark distributed the jail board report for January 2008.
  • Sheriff Clark requested approval for a transfer of a criminal forfeiture of a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup.

MOTION: move to approve the criminal forfeiture of a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup truck; State of Maine v. Darren Smith. (Brown/Lawson, 3-0 motion passed)

  • Sheriff Clark requested approval to purchase accessories to equip two new cruisers using funds from the contract cruiser account.
  • Commissioner Shea clarified that the funds to equip the vehicles were to come from account #12-70-300 rather than account #10-20-005 as requested.

MOTION: move to approve the use of funds from the contract cruiser reserve account #12-70-300, to purchase cruiser accessories. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

  • Sheriff Clark submitted three sealed bids to the commissioners for a new Civil Process vehicle. Commissioner Shea stated his concern on not following policy.
  • Civil Process Supervisor McPhail stated what he was looking for in the new vehicle.
  • The funds to purchase the new vehicle will come out of account #13-70-300.

The following bids were opened:

Darlings Auto   Dodge Nitro $23,498.00 no trade in noted
Darlings Auto  Jeep Liberty $23,557.00 no trade in noted
Morrisons Chevrolet  TrailBlazer   $15,529.00 includes $9,000.00 trade in
  • Sheriff Clark will call Darlings to address the trade in allowance and why it was not included in the bid.
  • Adjusted bids to include trade in:
Dodge Nitro $14,998.00
Jeep Liberty $15,087.00
TrailBlazer   $15,529.00

Motion:  move to accept the Dodge Nitro in the amount of $14,998.00 (Lawson/Shea, 1-2 motion failed)

  • Commissioner Brown would like the Sheriff to research and compare other vehicles with increased gas mileage.
  • Sheriff Clark stated he would go to Bangor and then develop a matrix on the vehicles chosen and email the matrix to the commissioners. Sheriff Clark requested Commissioner Shea to authorize the purchase of one of the current vehicle bids unless another vehicle is found in the next three weeks.

MOTION: move to authorize Sheriff Clark to conduct further research on vehicles that might be available including the pricing and technical information on the vehicles, and send the information to the commissioners via email. Commissioner Shea, with input from Commissioners Lawson and Brown, will consult with the Sheriff. (Shea/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)


3:15 p.m.
Department Head evaluation.

3:30 p.m.
Department head evaluation concluded.


MOTION: move to approve the minutes of the January 8, 2008 commissioners regular meeting as presented. (Brown/Lawson, 3-0 motion passed)

Timothy McNeal: 

  • The county clerk explained to the commissioners Timothy McNeal’s request to join the county health plan.
  • The county clerk contacted MMEHT on the eligibility of rejoining the county health plan.  MMEHT stated that he is not eligible, because he severed his coverage.

MOTION: move to go into executive session (Brown/Shea, 3-0 motion passed)

4:10 pm
MOTION: move to come out of executive session. (Shea/Brown, 3-0 motion passed)

  • Commissioner Lawson stated that the two facts described by the county clerk are that Mr. McNeal agreed to the buyout of $420.00 per month and that he is ineligible to participate in the Hancock County health plan.
  • Commissioner Shea stated that the buyout should be continued because it has been budgeted for FY08, and to revisit this at the end of the year as buyouts may increase or decrease.

MOTION: move to continue to pay Timothy McNeal $420.00 per month for the health insurance buyout. (Lawson/Shea, 2-0-1) Brown abstained.

MOTION: move to authorize the county clerk to send out tax warrants for assessing the towns and unorganized territories their portions of the county tax. (Brown/Lawson, 3-0 motion passed)

MOTION: move to set the interest rate on delinquent taxes at 7.75%. (Brown/Lawson, 3-0 motion passed)


MOTION: move to reschedule the tax appeal hearing for Shubert v. the Town of Surry for 1:00 pm on March 18, 2008  (Shea/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

Deliberations: Robinson, Biskind, Cohen v. Town of Brooksville

  • Commissioner Shea feels there is no basis for determining that the $500,000.00 is inaccurate.
  • The Photographs that were furnished only went up the cove; there were no photographs showing the open water.  The summary from Timothy Pease stated that they did not have deep water frontage, however, a statement was made at the hearing that boats are moored off shore of the property.

MOTION: move the Commissioners deny the request for tax abatement because they could not find the judgment of the assessor to be irrational or unreasonable, that there was no unjust discrimination, and that the assessment was not fraudulent, dishonest, or illegal. (Shea/Brown 3-0, motion passed)


4:22 pm
MOTION: move to go into executive session to conduct department head evaluation. (Shea/Lawson, 3-0 motion passed)

4:50 pm
MOTION: move to come out of executive session. (Brown/Shea, 3-0 motion passed)

4:55 pm
MOTION: move to adjourn. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

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