Commissioners Regular Meeting

Commissioner Shea called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2008 in the conference room at the county courthouse in Ellsworth with Commissioners Lawson and Brown in attendance.

Commissioner Shea opened hearing of the Airline Lodge and Snack Bar liquor license renewal at 9:02 a.m. As there were no issues, the following motion was made.

MOTION: move to approve the application from the Airline Lodge and Snack Bar for an off-premise liquor license. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: move to approve the minutes of the March 17, 2008 commissioners regular meeting, as presented. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

  • Doug Smith requested permission to erect a sign, similar to the Ellsworth Public Library sign, denoting the location of the Ellsworth Historical Society on county property. Commissioner Shea requested that the sign be kept back enough from State Street in order to allow vehicles to see oncoming traffic.

MOTION: move to approve the request of the Historical Society to erect a sign subject to the approval of the sheriff and provided that it does not interfere with the view of oncoming traffic. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

  • The commissioners received a request from Teamsters Union Local #340 to reopen the clerical union contract to discuss the inclusion of an FY2009 wage increase.

  • Commissioner Shea stated that it needs to be very clear that the county parties were very aware of the fact that the Union did not include a wage increase in their request for 2009 and that there were other concessions made in the agreement that was signed that took that into account. In Mr. Eaton’s letter he referred to the fact that the “parties” made the oversight, when in fact, the commissioners were very aware. Commissioner Shea felt strongly that it was the responsibility of the members to read their contract before signing and that the commissioners should not be held responsible for them not paying attention to what they signed.

  • Commissioners Shea and Brown were not in favor of re-opening negotiations. Commissioner Lawson suggested a formal letter informing the union that the commissioners believe the contract to be correct as it stands.

MOTION: The county commissioners are not interested in re-opening negotiations and as one of the two parties that were involved, we were fully aware that there was not an adjustment in the wage scale in 2009, this was taken into consideration and made other concessions were made in the contract that the commissioners signed. If there was an oversight made, it was made by only one of the two parties. (Shea/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Commissioner Shea stated it seems like the union always knows where they want to go with all their discussions and it was an error on the part of the union. Commissioner Shea stated the wage scale proposal came from the union side of the table, it was not something proposed by the commissioners. He stated the union needed to look within their own group and at their representative for the problem, not to the commissioners.

  • The commissioners agreed to instruct Director Dunno to forward the commissioners’ monthly RCC report to the RCC Board of Directors. They asked that all information sent to the commissioners regarding the RCC should also be sent to the RCC Board of Directors.


  • Director Pinkham called for questions regarding his monthly report and updated the commissioners regarding additional costs associated with the newly installed panic button system.

  • The panic button SOP was discussed. It will be reviewed by Commissioner Brown, Director Pinkham and the County Clerk with employee training to follow.


  • Airport Manager Cossette discussed three capital improvement projects with the commissioners. 1) A continuation of the engineering/design/permitting for the runways 4 and 22 safety area projects. Also included is the design and engineering for the possible future removal of the utility poles from approximately the Trenton Grange Hall to the new lobster shipping building. Also included in the additional design costs is the design work associated with the wetlands mitigation work, possibly on Route 230 in Trenton. 2) Runway 4-22 pavement remarking and marking new enhanced taxiway centerline markings 3) Purchase of a plow truck with a sander.  Manager Cossette asked for preliminary approval to proceed with the projects.

MOTION: Approve the 3 projects with the caveat that the commissioners will re-visit this request in the future. (Lawson/Brown 1-2 motion failed)

Discussion: The commissioners asked several questions regarding the purchase of the plowing and sanding truck.

MOTION: move to approve the first two projects and not the third. (Brown/Shea 2-1, motion passed, Lawson opposed)

Airport Manager Cossette introduced Tom Dunn, Line Services Manager for Columbia Air Services. A spreadsheet of proposed ramp fees was distributed and a discussion ensued. Airport Manager Cossette stated that the proposed fees are slightly lower than other comparable airports. The commissioners agreed that the proposed fee schedule was reasonable.

MOTION: move to approve the agreement of proposed fees. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

  • Airport Manager Cossette reported that Colgan Air Inc. has advised the airport that it plans to phase out its Beech 1900 aircraft. Colgan has offered to continue service using its Saab 3400 planes. This creates a huge financial burden for the airport regarding certification and purchase of compliance vehicles and service. There are currently 3 options available 1) do nothing, in the hopes that the USDOT will find a replacement carrier. 2) Comply with 139 certified air operations, which would be extremely costly. 3) Go shopping for another airline to move in. The possibilities of future landing fees were discussed.

  • Colgan air has indicated very clearly that they are not interested in removing seats from the Saab 3400 to create a 30 place aircraft.

  • All capital cost associated with certification are capital cost associated with FAA.

  • Commissioner Shea suggested adding an additional option 3-A) involve the county fire association in discussions. They may lend their cooperation to this issue.

10:02 a.m.

MOTION: move to go into executive session to discuss the Colgan contract. (Brown/Shea 3-0, motion passed)

10:33 a.m.

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

10:33 a.m.: Recess

10:42 a.m.: Back in session


  • Interest rates/income and departmental revenues were discussed.

  • The cost of gas and federal tax, charged or not charged by Dead River was discussed.

MOTION: move to approve payroll warrants #08-10, #08-11, #08-12 and #08-13 in the amount of $266,622.14. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move to approve expense warrants #008-009, #008-010 and #008-012 in the amount of $695,298.41. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move to approve the Unorganized Township Warrant #10 in the amount of $17,676.12. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

  • Treasurer Crowley reported that the Bank of New York Mellon has instructed her to pay a $500.00 management fee on the jail bond. If the county elects not to pay the fee the Bank of New York Mellon has requested the county to change financial institutions. She has discussed moving the bond with Union Trust but was told by Mike Trainor that this was a reasonable fee.

MOTION: move to pay the $500.00 management fee on the jail bond. (Shea/Brown 3-0, motion passed)


  • Commissioner Shea updated the commissioners regarding website issues. Mac Image of Maine currently holds the domain name The official domain name has been changed. Mac Image of Maine is currently denying refunds for pre-purchase of documents. The register of deeds is in discussions with Aptitude Solutions regarding the situation as they are the employer of Mac Image of Maine.


  • The clerk reported that she had just spoken to the sheriff’s administrative assistant and was told that the sheriff is aware of the 42 cent mileage reimbursement policy and will be paying that amount to the civil process Supervisor. The clerk was assured that the county will not be paying for gasoline associated with civil process. Commissioner Shea stated that a mileage reimbursement request was submitted to the treasurers office denoting 32 cents a mile with 10 cents being applied toward gasoline purchase. He suggested paying the current outstanding mileage reimbursements at the rate at 21 cents per mile.

MOTION: move that current bills in the treasurers’ office reflecting 32 cents a mile be reduced to 21 cents per mile, to actually reflect the true cost of gasoline already purchased by the county, and that going forward, the mileage reimbursement rate will be at whatever the county’s rate is, (if it is 2008 the mileage rate would be 42 cents), and be very clear that all people that are charging the county mileage are to be purchasing their own fuel, not just Paul McPhail, but anyone that is being paid for mileage is expected to furnish their own fuel. (Shea/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown seconded the previous motion on the condition that we have specific dates for cutoff of when to pay 21 cents per mile. It was explained that the 21 cent reimbursement rate would only apply to McPhail’s bills currently in the treasurers office. The date range is included on those bills.

  • The March 2008 jail board report was submitted via e-mail, prior to the meeting.


  • Commissioner Shea read a Proclamation for National Telecommunicator Week.

MOTION: move to proclaim the week of April 13-19, 2008 as National Telecommunicator Week and to recognize the outstanding job Hancock County Dispatchers are doing. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move to re-affirm the hire of Keisha Kelliher of Ellsworth as a part-time dispatcher, effective April 5, 2008 at $10.00 per hour. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

  • Commissioner Brown suggested hiring an outside evaluator to make suggestions regarding hardware and RFP’s for the RCC/9-1-1 Center. He spoke to Jim Ryan and stated that when Penobscot County set up their new center, they hired Carl Croft to conduct an evaluation. He felt strongly that Hancock County needs to move ahead, due to interest by the Town of Bucksport in sending their night dispatching to the county. Commissioner Shea suggested Commissioner Lawson discuss this with Director Dunno. Commissioner Lawson stated software for Bucksport’s hardware should not be included in the assessment of the county’s responsibility. She felt updated frequencies and RCC hardware are the only additional issues that should to be included in the county’s responsibility.

  • Commissioner Brown attended the E-9-1-1 Council meeting on Tuesday, reference was made to the 50 cent surcharge be dropped to 30 cents. It will be reinstated next year. Reducing the number of PSAP’s was also discussed at the E-9-1-1 Council meeting. Commissioner Brown stated that Cliff Wells reported that many Kennebec County towns have gone to Somerset County for their PSAP service.

MOTION: move to adjourn. (Brown/Shea 3-0, motion passed)

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