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Commissioners Special Meeting

Commissioner Percy L. Brown, Jr. called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 14, 2009, in the commissioners meeting room of the Hancock County Courthouse, with Commissioners Joy and Lawson in attendance.

Register of Deeds, Julie Curtis presented the commissioners with a revised in-house copy fee schedule. After a period of discussion, it was agreed that the current fee is appropriate.

MOTION: to approve the FY2010 health insurance contributions for non-exempt/regular salaried and elected employees, as presented. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the FY2010 health insurance buy-out/buy-down as presented. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

  • Interim airport manager, Allison Navia presented the commissioners with a promotional plan to increase ticket sales at the airport. The plan is being financially supported by Pinnacle Air, who has agreed to pay ½ of all ticket sales up to $10,000. Pinnacle will basically cover all the cost of the fees to TSA and taxes. The effective ticket price is $50 round trip to Boston, $25 one way. The normal ticket price for a round trip ticket to Boston is $200.
  • Commissioner Lawson felt that this was an exceptional idea and called it a “no brainer.”
  • Some tickets will be given away through radio promotion. The Jackson Lab, Ellsworth, Trenton and Bar Harbor Chambers of Commerce have been contacted regarding the promotion. Other suggested community outreach programs include field trips for Ellsworth High School and medical flights for patients in need of transportation.
  • Award letters would be redeemed at the BHB ticket counter with the understanding that the ticket itself is non-transferable and non-refundable and must be used by December 31, 2009.
  • Commissioner Brown expressed his concern with purchasing tickets annually and wanted to know when it should/would stop. He gave the example of having a 10,000 enplanement limit this year and having to purchase 5,000 tickets in the future. A limit needs to be set and adhered to. He was also concerned that tickets were being purchased with public funds and wanted the distribution of said tickets to be fair. He asked if the commissioners should be utilizing public funds to “milk” the FAA out of money, and stated there is a reason for the 10,000 enplanement limit.
  • Interim airport manager Navia stated that she has spoken to the FAA about the legality of the promotion and was assured, by Bob Cyrus, that the FAA was completely in favor of the idea and that their was nothing legally wrong with the idea.
  • Airport generated revenue would be used to purchase the tickets.
  • Commissioner Lawson stated that presumably, when the economy changes, the airport will get back to meeting their10,000 enplanement quota and the commissioners will not have to invoke the process again.
  • Retired airport manager, Robert Cossette encouraged the support the promotional plan. The funding is critical to airport annual upkeep. Entitlement funds allow the airport to continue with the capital improvements plan. Pinnacle Air has been supportive of the promotion because they recognize that capital improvement costs are the major costs of an airport. He warned the commissioners to look upon the $10,000 as the “upper limit” of the amount of funds that would spent towards this program. He encouraged radio promotion of the airport.
  • BAC member Trudy Bickford asked if the airport would shut down if it did not reach its 10,000 enplanement goal. The answer was no. It would mean receiving $150,000 in entitlement funds rather than $1,000,000. She also wanted to know why the airport manager waited so late in the year to suggest the promotion and expressed her desire to see local people to benefit from the plan. The interim airport manager answered all questions to her satisfaction after which Ms. Bickford expressed her opinion that this was a favorable promotional plan.
  • Interim airport manager Navia warned the commissioners that there is still a chance that even if they purchase tickets and give them away they still may not reach the 10,000 enplanement goal. This is not a 100% guarantee.
  • The airport is an enterprise fund; all revenues are generated at the airport. Federal monies are revenues collected from aviation sources.
  • Commissioner Joy preferred to utilize funds up to a $5,000 limit rather than $10,000. He was also concerned with the proper distribution of tickets. He encouraged the sale of tickets rather than giving them away due to the financial investment associated with the promotion.

MOTION: to approve the interim airport managers recommendation to enter into this agreement with Colgan Air to award tickets, free to people as via the radio and TV and newspaper and what ever other media that we get and to direct them to redeem those tickets at the airport counter. (Lawson/Joy, due to technical difficulty and being unable to retrieve the original motion, the motion was not acted upon.

Discussion: Interim airport manager Navia requested the inclusion of “to a maximum of $10,000 from the airport miscellaneous account”, in the motion.

  • Commissioner Joy stated that if it was $50 for a round trip ticket to Boston, 100 tickets would make sure that we would get the 60 enplanements needed. He understood that this was a PR event for the airport and was looking at it as and advertising promotion for BHB which includes free parking and the only service to Boston in the area ect. He stressed that he did not want all tickets to be given away for free. He preferred to see people invest in their tickets. 100 tickets would cost $5,000, he preferred to spend $5,000 rather than $10,000.
  • Commissioner Brown voiced his opposition to the idea of spending tax payer money and public funds on the promotion. He preferred Commissioner Joy’s idea of recipients paying $50 to fly, rather than giving the tickets away. That way, he could put a promotional face on the idea rather than a give-a-way.
  • Commissioner Brown stated that he was looking at the proposal as a one time event and encouraged the airport manager and commissioners to take a step back and take a good look at the airport mission to plan and to think of other ways to bring in riders to the airport in the future.
  • CFO Roy encouraged the commissioners to take the funds from the airport advertising account number 40-30-205, with the understanding that the account may be over expended for the year, rather than a miscellaneous account.
  • Commissioner Joy asked interim airport manager Navia to e-mail her promotional plan to the commissioners, for their review, by the end of the day and reiterated his goal of a $5,000 spending cap.

MOTION: to approve the concept of promotional tickets, up to 100 tickets, some carrying a fee of $50 and some being promoted as free, funds coming from advertising account 40-30-205. (Lawson/Joy, due to technical difficulty and not being to retrieve the above motion, the motion was not acted upon:

MOTION: original motion and second withdrawn.

MOTION: that we approve a promotional delivery of up to 100 tickets, some of which will be given away as a promotional item, we will donate to the purchase of these tickets monies from account number 40-30-405. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Commissioner Brown did not like the use of the phrase “give-a-way.” Commissioner Joy stated that if it ends up being an extra 100 tickets and they are revenue neutral, he was ok with that too, in other words, $5,000 is the limit in his head, included in that, if we can sell some, he was all for it. Commissioner Lawson stated that the commissioners needed to support the idea so that interim airport manager Navia could have time to compose the details of the promotion on for commissioner inspection. Commissioner Brown stated that he originally opposed the promotional idea because he does not like giving away public funds to leverage other public funds, but since a new fact has been put on it, he may be able to swallow it. He liked the promotional aspect because it incorporated advertisement of the airport.

Budget Meeting:

Commissioner Brown reminded the commissioners that they have not applied any undesignated funds or overlay to the proposed FY2010 budget. He recommended that the commissioners put $100,000 into overlay and $50,000 in undesignated funds. This would allow the opportunity to add funds to capital accounts. He requested that the commissioners keep this in mind as they went through the budget.

01-COURTS:

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 01-Courts in the amount of $10,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

02-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 02-Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $53,813, and to approve expenditures in the amount of $107,627. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

03-DISTRICT ATTORNEY:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 03-District Attorney in the amount of $34,552. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 03-District Attorney in the amount of $390,164. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: The cost associated with personnel services is based on a 40-hour work week for all courthouse union, full-time employees.

04-COUNTY COMMISSIONERS:

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 04-County Commissioners in the amount of $298,796. (Lawson/Joy 3-0 , motion passed)

05-OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 05-Office of Financial Affairs in the amount of 66,300. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 05-Office of Financial Affairs in the amount of $157,858. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Commissioner Brown voiced his discontentment at in not fulfilling the financial commitment to the CFO.

06-COURTHOUSE COMPLEX:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 06-Courthouse Complex in the amount of $79,983. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 06-Courthouse Complex in the amount of $440,292. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: The Office of Financial Affairs is currently receiving jail reimbursement and charging for maintenance workers time spent in the jail.

07-RCC/E-9-1-1:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 07-RCC/E-9-1-1 in the amount of $82,142 and expenditures in the amount of $536,533. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

08-REGISTRY OF PROBATE:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 08-Registry of Probate in the amount of $107,712. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 08-Registry of Probate in the amount of $198,145. (Lawson/Joy-motion withdrawn)

Discussion: All employees in this department are funded at a 40-hour work week. The reduction in the personnel services account is a result of funding for two clerks instead of a deputy register and one clerk. Expenditures for this department will be revisited at the end of the meeting.

09-REGISTRY OF DEEDS:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 09-Registry of Deeds in the amount of $627,888. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 09-Registry of Deeds in the amount of $276,737. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

10-SHEIRFF’S DEPARTMENT:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 10-Sheriff’s Department in the amount of $9,850. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 10-Sheriff’s Department in the amount of $1,092,667. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

12-OUTSIDE CONTRACTS:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 12-Outside Contracts in the amount of $173,220 and expenditures in the amount of $170,828. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

13-CIVIL PROCESS:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 13-Civil Process in the amount of $134,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 13-Civil Process in the amount of $140,257. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

16-DEBT SERVICE:

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 16-Debt Service in the amount of $1,500. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

17-THIRD PARTY DONATIONS:

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 17-Third Party Donations in the amount of $123,200. (Lawson/Joy 2-1, motion failed) Lawson opposed.

Discussion: Commissioner Lawson requested that the University of Maine Extension be restored to $73,200.

MOTION: to allow $73,200, as recommended by the BAC, for the University of Maine Extension. (Lawson/ motion failed due to lack of second)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for Eastern Maine Development Corporation in the amount of $8,000. (Lawson/Joy 2-0-1, motion passed) Brown abstained.

MOTION: to approve expenditures for Special Children’s Friends in the amount of $5,200. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hancock County in the amount of $4,500. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for Hancock County Children’s Council in the amount of $5,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for the University of Maine Extension in the amount of $73,200. (Lawson/Joy 2-1, motion failed) Brown opposed.

MOTION: to approve the BAC proposal for the University of Maine Extension in the amount of $73,200. (Lawson/ Joy 2-1) Brown opposed. The BAC budget in the amount of $73,200 stands.

MOTION: to approve expenditures for Hancock County Soil and Water Conservation District in the amount of $12,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for The Next Step in the amount of $8,500. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for the Hancock County Planning Commission in the amount of $12,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to fund the Downeast RC&D at zero. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to fund the Third Party Donations in the amount of $128,400. (Lawson/Joy 2-1, motion passed) Brown opposed.

16-VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION:

MOTION: to approve expenditures for the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association in the amount of $35,500. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

19-BLUE HILL FAIR / HIGH SCHOOLS:

MOTION: to approve revenues and expenditures for account 19-Blue Hill Fair/High Schools in the amount of $21,000 respectively. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

20-UNCLASSIFIED:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 20-Unclassified in the amount of $10,658. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 20-Unclassified in the amount of $100,390. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

21-OUI GRANT & PRIVATE CONTRACTS:

MOTION: to approve revenues and expenditures for account 21-OUI Grant & Private Contracts in the amount of $22,500 respectively. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

45-UAD GRANT PROGRAMS:

MOTION: to approve revenues and expenditures for account 45-UAD Grant Programs in the amount of $17,000 respectively. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

46-DRUG TASK FORCE:

MOTION: to approve revenues for account 45-Drug Task Force in the amount of $34,500. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 45-Drug Task Force in the amount of $135,999. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

30-COUNTY RESERVE FUNDS:

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 30-Payroll Benefits in the amount of $15,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve expenditures for account 30-County Building Renovation Reserve in the amount of $200,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown recommended taking some funds from the Undesignated Fund balance to put into capital accounts. He also suggested putting funds unto Personnel Services and starting a capital account in the RCC for new equipment. All of his suggestions will be taken care of in the January meeting.

MOTION: to approve airport revenues in the amount of $670,448. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve airport expenditures in the amount of $643,386. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve UT revenues in the amount of $29,562. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve UT expenditures in the amount of $215,822. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion followed regarding the title of some accounts. The CFO assured the commissioners that the UT budget was below the LD1 Cap.

BAC member, Trudy Bickford expressed her concerns with regards to stipends. She felt the CFO should be under contract and that a verbal agreement was inappropriate.

11:21 a.m.

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA 1 §405 (6) (A), to discuss a personnel matter. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

12:45 p.m.: Recess

1:17 p.m.: Commissioner Brown declared the meeting back in session.

MOTION: to approve expenditures in the Registry of Probate in the amount of $198,145. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Health Insurance Discussion:

Commissioner Lawson was not in favor of continuing with Meritain Health as, in her opinion; she felt the risk of partially funding was too great. If health coverage was fully funded, she would be less cautious.

  • Commissioner Joy stated that there are always risks associated with health care coverage.
  • Commissioner Brown stated that he knew that Meritain would not be funded for a single year and recognized that there have been issues, some of which have been addressed and some that continue to be outstanding. Financially, Meritain costs less than other companies. He felt it would be less upsetting to employees and retirees to stay with Meritain Health.
  • A discussion followed regarding the cost of 6 months of extended payments due to Meritain Health if the commissioners choose to move to Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust.
  • A lengthy discussion followed regarding Meritain Health’s attachment point, the amount needed to fund the health trust, the actual numbers submitted by Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust to fund health insurance through their company, employee contributions and how they are applied, the amount that is currently held in the health trust account, the estimated liability associated with Meritain Health and the peace of mind with regard to the numbers submitted.

Budget workshop continued:

MOTION: to authorize an Overlay of $100,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to transfer $150,000 from the Undesignated Fund balance to offset taxes. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Total FY10 expenditures: $6,600,378.

Total FY10 revenues: $1,475,118.

Total transfers: $50,000

Amount to be raised by taxation: $5,075,259

Total budget increase for FY2010 $68,473 or 1.32%

2:25 p.m.: Recess

2:35 p.m.: Back in session

Airport discussion continued:

The commissioners gave their unanimous approval of the airport 10,000 enplanement promotional plan.

Health insurance discussion continued:

Commissioner Joy was asked to contact representatives from Meritain Health and Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust for further information and report his findings to the commissioners in the next few days.

3:21 p.m.: Meeting adjourned.

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