COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 in the conference room of the county courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.
Adjustments to / approval of agenda:
The small boiler bid opening was moved to maintenance section.
MOTION: Move Sheriff to after approval of minutes and before Airport (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Public Comment: none
Approval of minutes:
MOTION: Approve the minutes of the April 3, 2018 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting, April 13, 2018 Commissioners’ Special Meeting and April 24, 2018 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Bid opening- Drug Forfeiture items- a total of 148 bids were submitted before the bid deadline; 4 bids were received after the deadline. Bid results are attached.
MOTION: to sell the Rigid 6800 Watt Generator to Huw Powell of Bucksport, Maine for $601.01; the Generac Generator, GP 7500E to Ron Abbott of Ellsworth, Maine for $501.99; the 2008 John Deere 35D Mini Excavator with 4095 hours to Barrett Graves of Brownville Junction, Maine for $26,662.55; the 2013 Hudson 4-Ton Utility Trailer to R. Paul Carter of Bucksport for $2,225.55; the 1997 Suzuki R600 Motorcycle to Jerry Blackburn of Harrington for $1,100.00; the 2007 Arctic Cat 400 4 Wheeler to William Strout of Ellsworth, Maine for $3,200.00; the 2013 Polaris Razor 800 HO Side by Side to Chris White of Bar Harbor, Maine for $10,051.17; the Husqvarna 1830 HV Snow Blower to Stuart Siddons of Trenton, Maine for $616.00; the Field and Stream Sportsman 24 Gun Fire Safe to Blaine Salsbury of Otis, Maine for $425.00; and the Sentinel 64 Gun Safe to Yale Ashe of Surry, Maine for $639.00 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion: Commissioner Clark noted this is a total of $46,023 going to drug task force. Sheriff Kane asked for the proceeds from the sale of the side-by-side to go into a separate account- account #3014-00. Commissioner Clark thought the money should go back in to drug task force, but the sheriff should be given assurance that the purchase of a side by side should be in the 2019 budget. Commissioner Brown would like all the money to go back to drug task force, but he would not object from money being taken from the reserve account of the drug task force for the purchase of a side by side. Commissioner Clark said he would support this. There was some discussion on how storage fees were paid.
MOTION: the sheriff be permitted to go out to bid on a side by side (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
All the money from the forfeiture bids will be deposited in the drug task force.
MOTION: approval of the 2018 contract for Town of Stonington (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: approval of Transfer of Forfeited Assets State of Maine vs. Shailene Chapman in the amount of $743.00 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Resource Officer Update- Sheriff Kane reminded the commission that 2 school unions have agreed to pay the salary and insurance for a school resource officer. Commissioner Blasi asked what the response was of the Airline, Beech Hill, Dedham, Trenton, and Tremont schools. Sheriff Kane said he had not contacted them yet; he was doing one thing at a time. Commissioner Clark asked how the county would be paid. Sheriff Kane said he expected they would invoice monthly for payment. He said he had sample MOUs that would determine details. Commissioner Clark asked about the cost of uniforms, equipment, etc. Sheriff Kane said he needed to determine if the commission would support this. Commissioner Blasi said his inclination was to put this in the budget cycle for 2019, and run it through that process. Commissioner Brown said he agreed. He said one of his concerns is that a lot of the schools in his district would not have the benefit of the school resource officer, and if there was an officer to go to each school, how much time would be spent in any one school at any one time. He said we have schools in Hancock County who already have school resource officers- the taxpayers in those towns would be paying part of this, how would that be justified to the taxpayers in those towns? Commissioner Brown said some schools will pay for this through taxation but will not have the benefit of the school resource officer. Commissioner Blasi said that was why he questioned whether a contract service would be available. Sheriff Kane said the coverage would be thin, but this is a start, and 2 school unions are willing to pay for that. Commissioner Brown said he was not yet ready to commit to it, but would like to have this as part of the budget cycle. There was some discussion about how many resource officers are in other counties. Commissioner Clark said it was not fiscally necessary to wait for the budget process for 2019, we could pull together sufficient funds to begin this July 1, with the revenue coming in from the school and existing reserves, we would be within $4,000 of the cost. If the school pays this before December 31- we could budget 2019 for the balance of the cost of that officer, although it may be difficult to find someone by July 1. Commissioner Clark said he wanted to go on record as supporting this officer; it was an outstanding opportunity given the financial commitment from the schools. This was a great way to have an extra officer in the summer months, when he was not in the schools. He said he personally supported this and wanted to encourage other schools to consider the same, if we don’t, other schools will be discouraged from even thinking about having a resource officer through the sheriff’s department. Commissioner Blasi referred to the April 3 commissioners’ meeting, when Sheriff Kane made reference to including the new deputy’s duties with those of a resource officer, and he (Commissioner Blasi) indicated that he had been thinking the same. He asked why that could not happen; Sheriff Kane said that could be the second one he may need. Commissioner Blasi asked why he couldn’t start with that one; Sheriff Kane said because he was not a resource officer, he was not trained for that. Commissioner Blasi asked how the cost of the training compared to the cost of hiring a new officer. Sheriff Kane said he hadn’t gotten that far, and that he needed to know if he had the support of the commission to go ahead. Commissioner Blasi said he was suggesting an alternative to going ahead.
MOTION: permit the sheriff to seek applications for a school resource officer to commence July 1 (Clark/motion fails for lack of second
Commissioner Clark said he wanted to know what the lack of a second to the motion means- are we not in favor of this arrangement with the schools? Sheriff Kane said he knew that originally Commissioner Blasi was not in favor of it. Commissioner Blasi said he wanted to know why it can’t be contracted, and why the sheriff can’t use the new officer. Commissioner Clark said the contract was not an issue; we would work out the details of a written agreement, perhaps in an MOU. Sheriff Kane agreed, and said it was the responsibility of himself and the chief deputy to oversee the officer, and the county was getting the money from the school. Commissioner Blasi said why not pursue the training of the officer who was hired in January. Sheriff Kane said he did not know that the officer was interested in doing that. Commissioner Blasi said the sheriff could rearrange staffing; Sheriff Kane said he possibly could. Sheriff Kane said what he originally intended was for the officer to back-fill some of the shifts so he could use more officers in DARE, avoiding overtime; that’s what he was doing now. Commissioner Clark said this officer was assisting in getting DARE in schools by filling those shifts, and if we use him for a school resource officer the sheriff would lose that back-fill. Commissioner Clark said he understood what Commissioner Blasi was saying, but the sheriff already had a purpose for that position. Commissioner Brown said he was not one way or the other on this, but wanted more information, to know if this was the right thing to do. He said some schools only have 100 students in them, and the best resource officer is the teachers- they know what’s going on. Commissioner Brown said this was an expenditure of the county and proper time must be taken to be sure it is done right; he didn’t want to be rushed into it. Commissioner Blasi agreed. Sheriff Kane said he would meet with the commissioners at any time to answer any of the questions they had. Commissioner Clark said he agreed that this was a little bit rushed, but timing here was an issue. Commissioner Brown would like to see an objective discussion on this, and take a little more time. He said some people are opposed to having armed police officers in schools; it was a taxpayer issue and required more discussion. Sheriff Kane said the commission gave him permission to seek bids for a side by side that they may or may not purchase, was it any different to go out and advertise for a deputy to back-fill that they may or may not use? Commissioner Brown said yes; the money for the side by side is in drug task force, it is money that does not have to be appropriated from the towns or overdrawn on a budget line. Sheriff Kane asked if he answered all the commissioners’ questions. Commissioner Blasi said for today he had. Sheriff Kane asked if he should tell the schools this failed for lack of a second on a motion. Commissioners Blasi and Brown said yes, at this point. Commissioner Brown said the school budget in some of these towns had not even been approved by the taxpayers yet, and taking the time for due diligence would not hurt anything. Commissioner Clark said this was the third time this has been on the agenda in three successive meetings, and he wanted the sheriff to understand what his next step in the process is. Commissioner Brown said he wanted more information, and the sheriff said he would provide that. Sheriff Kane said the information he thought the commission was asking for would have to come from him, and that he had given the commission all the information from the schools- they are willing to pay approximately $80,000 and the ball was in our court.
Jail Biannual inspection- Jail Administrator Tim Richardson said the jail scored 99.2 out of 100; overcapacity was the only issue. He said everything we have control over in the jail is in order.
Airport Manager Brad Madeira updated the commission with his monthly report. The terminal building alarm was tested last month with no issues. The DOT has received the correspondence from the commission endorsing Silver Airways. As of today they still have not issued any order. Commissioner Blasi asked what could happen with the amount of money owed to the county by Peninsula Airways. Manager Madeira said he did not want to speculate, that it was tied up in bankruptcy court, and we would have to see what the bankruptcy court ruled on that. The ARFF employees completed the annual live burn training. Manager Madeira received correspondence saying he should expect a CAP lease, they did accept all the terms. Madeira will have that at a future meeting.
Manager Madeira asked the commission to approve three updated job descriptions: Maintenance ARFF, Lead ARFF, and ARFF. He wanted to harmonize them so that all physical requirements were the same in each description. There was discussion about the lifting requirements.
MOTION: approval to update the Airport Maintenance/ARFF job description (Clark/Brown) Brown withdraws his second
CA Adkins suggested consulting with worker’s compensation to make sure the requirements did not violate any laws. Manager Madeira agreed to do that.
MOTION: approval to spend $3,814.80 from account G2-3030-19 for ARFF chemical (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Request approval to TRANSFER $5,000.00 from account G2-3040-00 to account G2-3030-19 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: approval to spend up to $2,000.00 from account G2-3010-52 (Terminal Building Remodeling/Updates) to complete Phase 1 of project to build an inbound baggage area in the old section of the terminal building (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Unorganized Territory Supervisor Millard Billing gave his monthly report. In January there were major washouts on some UT roads, and they were patched the best they could be to make the roads passable. The roads have washed out again. The road limits will be lifted this week and repair will be available. Supervisor Billings said he received an email advocating for ATV use on the Myra Road. In the past the commission has issued permits to the Rocky Mountain Trail Riders to use the Nicatous Rd. Supervisor Billings said this is a little different than allowing the general public to use the road. He suggested if there was a club that would accept responsibility for any damage to the road the commission could talk to them, but not open it to public use. Commissioner Blasi agreed. Commissioner Clark said he thought that was unenforceable. Supervisor Billings said this format works in other circumstances, and he would encourage the inquirer to seek a club for consideration of this format.
Break 9:54 am-10:01 am
Review of Scholarship applications for compliance and merit- Five applications had been submitted- of those only one is a UT resident. Commissioner Brown proposed fully funding the applicant for the first year.
MOTION: to fully fund the request of applicant number 1 for one year at $25,851(Brown/Blasi 2-1, Clark opposed, motion passed)
Commissioner Clark said he thought there was no need to contribute that much money. The intent was to pay the remainder after other scholarships were applied.
MOTION: to pay $15,717 directly to Husson University based on what other tuition funds come in to the student’s account at the university and then dispense remaining funds upon receipt of statement (Blasi/Brown 2-1, Clark opposed)
Commissioner Clark wanted CA Adkins and Supervisor Billings to work the details out together.
10:30 a.m. Van Dusen v. Town of Brooksville tax abatement appeal hearing
Commissioner Blasi swore the parties in. He invited the appellant to give a statement.
Commissioner Brown disclosed that his nephew was an attorney for Perkins Thompson, and in the past he has hired Perkins Thompson to do work for him, although he had no affiliation with them presently. Dianne O’Connell, representing the town of Brooksville, said she had no objection to Commissioner Brown being there.
Attorney James Katsiaficas of Perkins Thompson Attorneys & Counselors at Law presented a case for the appellant, David Van Dusen & Althea Van Dusen Trust. He introduced independent appraiser Russell Dischinger of Coastal Island Properties. He discussed the 4 comparable sale properties referenced in his appraisal. He said it appears that the town assessment occurred at a time prior to the recession when values were higher, and the market has not recovered fully. Dianne O’Connell, representing the Town of Brooksville assessors questioned Dischinger about not using a sale in October of 2017 as part of his appraisal. He said if the sale had happened earlier, he would have used it, and would have made a bigger adjustment.
Ellery Bane of RJD Appraisal, Assessor’s agent for the Town of Brooksville, explained the process used for assessing, including the land and building schedules. The subject property has a total acreage of 20.9. It runs along the same schedule as far as methodology goes, but has 2 separate developed sites. He said there are other properties in Brooksville that are assessed with 2 house lots, and they are assessed using the same method. Bane said he used the same methodology that was used on all other property in Brooksville. In closing O’Connell, representing the town, said the burden of proof is on the appellant, and the appellant does not come near to demonstrating that the assessment is manifestly wrong or in any way irrational. It is the practice in the town of Brooksville that if there is a property that has 2 separate structures that can be used separately with separate water and sewer, they do assess this 2 separate house lots. In the appellant’s closing statement Katsiaficas said we are here today because of the discrepancy in value. There is a $500,000 differential between the assessed value and the fair market value. He said the formula used by the town is not coming out with a just result. He said the independent appraisal by Mr. Dischinger shows the assessment is manifestly wrong, as well as an error in methodology by calling this 2 base lots.
Chair Blasi informed all parties that the commissioners have 60 days to deliberate and if the results are not satisfactory, the parties may appeal to Superior Court.
Break 12:12 pm
MOTION: approve the move of Sergeant Jonathan Merchant to the position of Community Corrections Specialist, effective May 5, 2018; this will place him at 11-G-1 $20.69, a reduction from 12-G-1 $21.81; the union contract will be followed as this reduction in pay occurs
(Brown/ Clark 3-0, motion passed)
This is a voluntary move by Sergeant Merchant.
MOTION: approve the promotion of Shaine Gross to the rank of Jail Sergeant, effective May 5, 2018; step 12-F-2 $21.17 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Approval to promote Christal Thurlow to Corporal, effective May 5, 2018; step 10-D $17.96 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Approval to work Noah Lewey out of classification to act as jail night shift Corporal, effective May 5, 2018; the union contract will be followed to verify proper hourly rate (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Fire panel installation- everything has been completed, and it’s up and running.
MOTION: Approval to promote Leslie Duncan to full time corrections officer, step 9-A $15.60, effective May 5, 2018 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Watershed study of Jordan River-request from HCPC for support letter-
MOTION: sign the endorsement letter regarding the grant application for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Project watershed based plan development for Jordan River in Hancock County Maine to Ms. Garland of the Department of Environmental Protection, in full support of this undertaking (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
EMA Director Andrew Sankey shared a note of thanks from Deputy EMA Director Bradley Nuding to the commission for their support regarding his recent attendance at the Leadership in Crisis Management course at Harvard in Cambridge Massachusetts. The Emergency Preparedness Plan has been revised exercised, tested, and updated, and Director Sankey asked the commission for approval of the plan. Director Sankey said he views this emergency plan as the first step; the next step is to develop and distribute spiral bound books to each department. The new plan will be exercised and tested updated at least once annually, within the first quarter of each calendar year. Director Sankey said after this they will put together a continuity of government plan.
MOTION: sign the promulgation document (Blasi/Brown 2-0-1 Clark abstains)
Commissioner Clark said he would like to review the plan before he approved it.
MOTION: to approve the April GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #18-13, #18-14, #18-15, and #18-16 in the aggregate amount of $351,235.25 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the April GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #18-28, #18-29, #18-30, #18-31, #18-32, and #18-33 in the aggregate amount of $565,978.98 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the April UT Payroll Warrants #18-39, #18-40, #18-41, and #18-42 in the aggregate amount of $1,009.24 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the April UT expense Warrants #18-20 and #18-21, in the aggregate of $19,008.21 (Blasi/Clark 3-0 motion passed)
MOTION: to approve 2018 April expenditures in the Health Insurance account of $108,203.02 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 Jail yard job- remove large wall section in the amount of $2,500.00 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 cut and remove concrete wall in the amount of $17,397.68 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 Removal and disposal of demolition debris from tank room in garage in the amount of $2,500.00 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Bid opening for small boiler project- One bid was submitted for this project, from Airotherm Inc. The bid amount was $19,500.00. Facilities Director Walls recommended acceptance of the bid.
MOTION: accept the bid from Airotherm, Inc. for $19,500 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Walls anticipated the project would be completed in June. This is part of the capital improvement plan.
MOTION: for the chairman to sign the RF Jordan Jail Day yard contract (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Work begins May 14.
Chiller discussion- Facilities Director Walls said there will not be time to put a new chiller in during the jail yard project. He recommended looking at a chiller replacement project next spring.
Monthly report- A draft copy of the contract with Orland has been given to CA Adkins for review. All dispatchers have received their International Academy of Emergency Dispatch certifications for Emergency Fire Dispatch. The RCC will no longer be able to transfer emergency fire calls received on 911 to the municipal stand alone dispatch services. The phone call portion will be handled in house. Director Conary said he met with some departments regarding this and some expressed interest in coming on board with Hancock County at some point. Director Conary said the state is discussing law enforcement protocols, in addition to the EMD and fire protocols. Two of our dispatchers- Megan Kelly and Jennifer Day- coordinated Lifeflight services for the EMS responders working on a CPR in progress call. The patient was transported by helicopter and was expected to be released from the hospital to recover at home. There was some discussion on the difficulty of coordinating ambulance services. There are approximately 12-13 ambulances available at any one time in the entire county. Director Conary has met with Ellsworth Fire Chief to communicate some concerns that have been voiced to him. Director Conary said ambulance services are not covered by a mutual agreement like fire departments. Director Conary explained that we have issues sometimes because of the limited EMS resources and where they are located. Commissioner Clark said it was too bad this was something the county did not provide. Commissioner Blasi asked if every municipality in Hancock County had an agreement with an ambulance provider. Director Conary said every town was covered by a service, although some services have very large service areas. Commissioner Blasi asked how this was regulated. Director Conary said they reported to Maine EMS and are licensed for a specific coverage area, and a secondary area.
MOTION: approval of QA job description (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
There was some discussion about the QA position and whether it would be a union position- it is not a full time position in the current contract.
MOTION: to enter Executive Session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(A) to discuss County Administrator contract (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Extend the County Administrator’s present employment contract until December 31, 2018 at an annual rate of $79,170.00 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: compensate the County Administrator in a one-time bulk payment of $7,500.00 in recognition of his assistance to the finance department for the balance of 2018 (Clark, fails for lack of second
MOTION: compensate the County Administrator in a one-time payment of $7,500.00 in recognition of his service to the finance department from the professional services G account (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed)
Commissioner Blasi said he thought the work was part of the job description and the agreement.
Next meeting will be held May 22, 2018.
MOTION: to adjourn 2:49 (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Deputy County Administrator