Commissioners Special Meeting
Commission Chairman Steven E. Joy called the special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order on Friday, February 4, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. in the conference room of the Hancock County Courthouse in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioner Brown in attendance. Commissioner Lawson was absent.
Commissioner Joy called the tax appeal hearing of Lawrence Eaton v. the Town of Castine to order at 9:01 a.m., participating parties were sworn in and testimony was heard. An audio tape of the hearing is available, upon request, in the commissioners’ office.
A new appraisal was entered at Exhibit 1. Additional exhibits will be added throughout the hearing. Mr. Violette expressed his concern that all three commissioners were not in attendance and that the vote would be split evenly.
Commissioner Joy declared the hearing closed at 11:35 a.m. Deliberations will be scheduled for 1:30 p.m. the March 1st commissioners’ regular meeting.
Erik Stumpfel Esq. and Roxanne Jobe of Eastern Maine Development Corporation presented the commissioners with information regarding Tax Increment Financing and Community Benefit Agreement requirements for the Bull Hill and Heifer Hill First Wind project in Township 16. Topics discussed included the LURC approval process, county participation opportunities, local regulation and the county commissioner’s role as the UT legislative body. Financial issues were briefly discussed and included the First Wind TIF request, an overview of the TIF statute, community benefit agreements a credit enhancement agreement and preliminary revenue projections. Commissioner approval is not required to begin this project. If a community benefit agreement is not reached by the commissioners, First Wind will not have completed one of the requirements of the application. The commissioners need to define the TIF districts, the type of benefit applied to the area and an associated funding cost. Mr. Stumpfel requested guidance to further the process. Commissioner Brown would like to see TIF ideas and numbers and discuss potential projects in a brainstorming type session. The commissioners directed Mr. Stumpfel to file a status on behalf of the county.
MOTION: to direct Eaton Peabody to file an intervening status on behalf of Hancock County. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)
12:40 p.m.: Break for lunch.
12:59 p.m.: Back in session.
CFO Roy stated that he received bids from the Penobscot Builders and Bowman Construction Company. Currently the county has approximately $150,000 left in energy grant funds to apply toward this project. A detailed list of the proposed work was presented. All of the items proposed have a 3-5 year pay back. Commissioner Brown expressed his concerns of getting the most for their money the first time around. Commissioner Joy stated that he is not sure we are spending our money wisely by having someone else tell us we need to change our lighting. He was hoping that the commissioners would see big savings come from this endeavor, not just focusing on “low hanging fruit.” CFO Roy explained that he was tasked to work within the funds provided by the energy grant. Commissioner Joy suggested removing the airport from the equation and completing the entire project for a better payback. The approximate cost of the entire project would be $259,038 minus $12,500 from Efficiency Maine, $150,000 from the energy grant with the county contributing approximately $96,500. Commissioner Brown suggested removing the cost associated with the district attorney’s office and to put that specific portion out to bid. By doing so it would reduce the county cost to $58,053. Commissioner Brown suggested speaking to Penobscot Builders prior to initiating construction, he would like to know what will and will not be done. The commissioners would have to approve all change orders prior to work being performed. He would like to know what will and will not be covered. The actual cost, associated with the list will need further negotiation.
MOTION: to accept the low bidder of Penobscot Builders and to hold off on a final number until a later date. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add the approval of the recapitulation to the agenda and to send out tax bills. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the assessment of the county tax and allow the CFO to send out county tax bills. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
2:13 p.m.: Break
2:15 p.m.: Back in session
MOTION: to enter into a contract with Linda Feury on the FEMA fund grant, hiring her as an independent contractor. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to award the information technology contract to Sierra Communications at the cost of $22,000 for one year. (Joy/Brown 2-0, motion passed)
Discussion: Commissioner Brown was not necessarily in agreement with the choice of Sierra Communications and felt we needed to give CBE a chance.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed)