Commissioner Agendas & Minutes
COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the regular monthly meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in the conference room at the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.
Adjustments to the agenda:
MOTION: to add item 6d, a request for out-of-state travel to pick up a generator. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add item 5h, to discuss the replacement of a computer in the OFA. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the January 7, 2014 commissioners' regular meeting, January 15, 2017 Public Meeting and January 17, 2014 commissioners' special meeting. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Exempt employee evaluations were rescheduled for February 18, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.
Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin requested the commissioners to schedule meetings for the establishment of a County Charter Commission. Commissioner Joy questioned if this was one person standing before the commissioners requesting a Charter or is there a "ground swell" that thinks we need one and referred to the League of Towns. Mr. Gideonse stated that his original thought was an individual idea. The end result would be to create a five person commission and to appoint a County Administrator. Commissioner Brown stated that during budget discussions, the commissioners spoke about putting away money to hire a consultant in order to see if an administrator should be hired. There are no funds available in 2014 but the commissioners could work on it for 2015. Commissioner Joy stated that he was going to contact Peter Crichton of Cumberland County, and stated that after going through the process, Mr. Crichton was not in favor of creating a Charter Commission and has stated that Cumberland County could have created a County Administrator position without the charter commission. CFO Roy stated that he was the person who headed the Charter Commission in Somerset County, it is a lot of work, a 2-year process and will cost approximately $12,000. Trenton Selectman Ehrlenbach stated that a Charter Commission may or may not recommend establishing a Charter, he suggested an ad hoc commission to see if the idea should move forward. When asked if he had any comment, Commissioner Blasi replied, nothing further.
The commissioners scheduled a meeting to discuss proposed changes to various county policies for February 18, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. Policies to be discussed are Harassment, Exempt Employee and Complaint. Supporting materials will be distributed prior to the meeting.
Commissioner Blasi proposed to utilize half of the Community Benefit Funds toward taxation, to then reformat the Recapitulation which would cancel out the Overlay and the other half of the funds could be disbursed according to the grant process. The balance in the Community Benefit Account should be $168,000. Commissioner Brown preferred to put funds toward economic development as it "feeds the tax base" and if there were not enough interested parties the remainder of funds could go toward reducing the 2015 budget under Undesignated Fund. Commissioner Joy stated that he has heard the request to use the funds towards taxation adding that the impact is limited until they get into bigger numbers. He stated that when the Hancock Wind Project comes onboard he would vote to use at least $100,000 to reduce taxation. He preferred this time to leave the $168,000 as is for this year, look at the applications that come in and decide whether to fund some or all of the requests. Funds could be applied to taxation in 2015, some could be used for a project or for looking into a Charter or legal fees. The change to an administrative system and an increase to five commissioners has a fiscal that has to be paid. This year he preferred to set aside $100,000 for applications and the $68.000 for other projects.
MOTION: to post the applications. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: applications will be open until 4:00 on Friday, March 7, 2014. Requests will be capped at $25,000. Letters of Recommendation will be accepted but not required.
Registry of Probate:
Register of Probate, Bonnie Cousins gave a brief overview of the hiring of her part-time employee. She stated that she had been told by the CFO that the funds to pay for this position was coming out of the Surcharge account which was not what she requested and not what was approved by the County Commissioners. After reviewing the August 29, 2012 audio tape from the commissioners’ budget workshop she also reiterated that the part-time employee was supposed to be paid out of the part-time account for 16 hours per week and out of the surcharge account for 8 hours. Register Cousins stated her confusion as to where the Surcharge money was held and questioned why Surcharge would be budgeted under Storage Files in the county budget. The law states that Surcharge Funds should be deposited in a separate non-lapsing account within 30-days of receipt. She was confused as to how she paid for the part-time person for 8 hours a week at $12 an hour as she did not make the money required to pay for this position out of Surcharge Funds. She apologized for not knowing how much Surcharge money she had.
Commissioner Blasi questioned what account number the funds should be taken from, Register Cousins stated that she does not have an account number. CFO Roy stated that it was account number R08-107 entitled Records Restoration. CFO Roy stated that 100% of the Surcharge Funds goes into the R08-107 revenue account to offset the cost of the employee. In 2011 he began paying for this employee under account 08-01-300 due to Time Trak related issues. CFO Roy agreed that the surcharge account should not be charged for 24 hours per week, but rather 8 hours per week at a cost of $5,373.89 annually, including the 7.65% employer tax.
CFO Roy stated that restoration did not collect enough surcharge to offset the cost of an 8 hour per week employee. A printer was also purchased out of the Surcharge account a few years ago. CFO Roy stated that last year and the year before the commissioners voted to over expend the line and "we" took it as it was fine" and then the restoration would stay in the revenue to offset the expenses. There is currently $527 in the lapsing capital reserve account and interest is paid on this each year. Commissioner Joy stated that $4,992 was paid for a person that worked 8 hours per week doing surcharge work for the past two or three years, there is not enough revenue in that account therefore he questioned "what are we doing?" 2013 revenue was $3,563, in 2012 it was $3,800 and in 2011 it was $5,800. $3,000 was budgeted in 2014. Commissioner Joy stated that in 2011 there was enough funds to pay this person but in 2012 and 2013 there was not and asked again "what are we doing?" CFO Roy stated that the department is eating the difference out of its part-time account as it has been charged the full cost of this person since 2011.
Commissioner Brown clarified that there was not enough revenues to cover the cost of the person for 8 hours a week and questioned if the remainder of the cost was being paid out of the part-time budget, that was Register Cousins understanding. $5,379.89 is needed to pay this person for 8 hours per week for one year. CFO Roy reiterated at 100% of this persons hours were paid from the part-time account and the Surcharge Account "helps her department offset her budget."
Commissioner Brown stated that the Register was the only person who could use Surcharge funds. In 2013 the difference in the surcharge revenue and expense was $1,810. In 2013 the part-time line was over expended by $5,640 due to the authorization of more hours, according to CFO Roy. Hearing this, Commissioner Joy stated "that was because we thought it would be covered by the Surcharge and if it isn't then we need to know that because that budget line is then going to be overspent." CFO Roy stated again that the commissioners authorized the over expenditure of the part-time line by giving more hours to the part-time employee in 2013. Commissioner Joy stated that he was not sure that they authorized it in that they wanted to over spend it, if there was going to be revenue to match it, then we authorized it but if there is not, he was not sure that he authorized the over expenditure. "That is not normally how I operate, either you can pay for it or you can't, it was either in her budget or it was not."
CFO Roy stated that the audit does not address the over expense. The final numbers, ($1,810.89) for 2013 revenue and expense was distributed. Commissioner Joy questioned how there could be funds in the capital account if the budget had been overspent. Register Cousins stated that she did not have access to see the funds weekly/daily, she has to go to the CFO and ask for the numbers. CFO Roy stated that Probate revenues "in total" have covered the deficit cost of the employee. Commissioner Joy stated that in 2011 we voted to over expend the budget, to move forward he preferred to budget correctly. For budgeting purposes, the Register needs to know how much Surcharge funds are coming in or the account needs to be budgeted correctly. CFO Roy stated that each year the hours in Probate was increased thus causing a problem. The Register did not have access to Time Trak to monitor her employee’s hours until recently. CFO Roy stated that he only has that employee in the 2014 budget for 16 hours per week and that it should be for 24 hours per week, the line is under budgeted.
Commissioner Joy requested to revisit the discussion on February 18th. Commissioner Brown stated that moving ahead, the Register should keep track of the hours that employee is working, it isn’t something we can’t fix and questioned if the Register has control over the Surcharge Funds, he stated that she can ask the commissioners to pay the funds to the employees as long as there are funds available. Commissioner Joy stated that the Registry of Deeds keeps control of her Surcharge Account because she has an actual separate checking account, the Register of Probate has lost control of hers and this should be discussed further on February 18th.
Office of Financial Affairs:
MOTION: to approve January General Fund and Payroll Warrants #14-01, #14-02, #14-03 and #14-04 in the aggregate of $219,780.48. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve January General Fund and Expense Warrants #13-61, #13-62, #13-63, #13-64, #14-01, #14-02, #14-03 and #14-04 in the aggregate of $567,795.46. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve Jail and UT Fund Payroll Warrants #14-26, #14-27, #14-28, #14-29 and #14-30 in the aggregate of $122,989.57. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: The check for Burlington is included in the Expense Warrant.
MOTION: to approve Jail and UT Fund Expense Warrants # #14-27. #14-28, #14-29 and #14-30 in the aggregate of $79,159.59. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy distributed the jail report that included encumbrances that been reported to the BOC through CRAS for 2012/2013. The BOC has mandated that the county is to decrease any excess revenue received above the budget which will decrease our investment fund allocation, this reduces our expenses to what was actually budgeted. Changes are being made in the jail to decrease costs. Employee medical is “right on cue” with their budget. Beginning January 1st the jail is paying their direct costs. Items likely to be over expended include pharmaceuticals, vehicle maintenance, and propane. The cost of propane has also increased by .30 cents per gallon over the last few weeks. The shortage/ban is anticipated to be lifted this month. CFO Roy stated that if the trend continues, if we do not get our 4th quarter payment and the board relaxes its requirement, and the 3rd quarter payment is released, it looks like we are tracked at a zero/flat line budget. CFO Roy stated that they may be $5,600 short. Commissioner Blasi questioned if $19,000 from a past event has been paid.. CFO Roy stated that the bill has been paid and the county is no longer responsible for it.
AR does not include $15,000 from the US Marshall Service and some checks that came in yesterday from the RCC. $69,126 has been received by the Airport from the FAA. $15,000 should come off the books today.
MOTION: to authorize January expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $51,939.90. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: $45,904.08 was for 2013 outstanding bills.
MOTION: to grant the request for capital reserve expenditure for $94,179 coming from account G05-3200-00 UT Roads. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3012-50 in the amount of $1,400.84 for the purchase of 2-Dell Computers for the Registry of Deeds. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: These are replacement computers.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3015-10 for Fire Academy books and workbooks in the amount of $2,393.38. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: this account now has a zero balance.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 for the courthouse propane conversion project in the amount of $75,000. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3015-00 for annual rental for miscellaneous radio charges for antenna on Cadillac Mountain in the amount of $1,189.92. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: This account has $46,863 left in it.
Sheriff Clark submitted a capital request for approval to purchase one camera for the contract cruiser and one for a regular patrol vehicle. The discussion was tabled until the sheriff is in attendance.
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G2-3030-20 in the amount of $4,347.81 for the Nickerson & O'Day, Inc. requisition #5. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a request for expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3014-90 in the mount of $136.29 for the purchase of 107.5 gallons of propane for the North Tower. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to authorize the payment for Orthoimagery from account G3-3025-00 in the amount of $32,000 and $16,500 from account E07-30-30-0550. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: TIF expenses are located in account #07-30-30-0550. TIF revenues are held in account R-07-30-0200. Commissioner Blasi questioned if the commissioners have established a capital reserve account for TIF funds. CFO Roy stated that it would be done at the end of the fiscal year, per the Wind Energy Act.
MOTION: to approve the 2014 Recapitulation. (Brown/Joy 2-1, Blasi opposed, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that our valuation is down half a billion dollars this year. Some towns benefited from this and some didn’t.
MOTION: to authorize the CFO to send out tax bills. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy requested replacement of his computer due to problems created during the recent ice storm. He requested to pay for it out of the OFA Capital account. Commissioner Joy requested more information on what it is being replaced with, who is working on it now and he would like to discuss it that the meeting on February 18th.
Airport Manager Madeira stated that the airport terminal building construction is up and running as of last Monday. $245,099 is “where we are at today” with regard to the contract price and the change orders that have been approved.
Rick Malm of Lewis + Malm addressed the commissioners with regard to the installation of aluminum sunshades and Change Order #9. Solar shades has always been part of the design. Energy efficiency at the airport includes all LED lighting, incorporating heating controls from the existing terminal with the new section, the LP gas switch over, a daily harvesting system that allows the lights to go off automatically, air handling systems and glazing of the building with high efficiency glass. Installation of the solar shades will save $6 a day in air conditioning and will have a less than a 5 year payback. The interior shade deals with glare, solar shades deal with the heat in the building. Commissioner Brown questioned potential ice buildup, there should not be any per Mr. Malm. It should not need cleaning and does not need adjusting.
MOTION: to add back in the exterior sun control devices at a cost to the county of $2,320. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Funding for this will come from account 3030-20.
Airport Manager Madeira presented the 2013 4th quarter enplanement report which reflected a total of 9,557 passengers from air carriers, leaving 443 needed from charter flights. There were 1,257 charter numbers submitted in 2012. Pen Air has reduced their 2014 schedule by 34% or 114 flights in their initial schedule projection. Manager Madeira is working with them to increase the numbers.
MOTION: to approve the promotion of Theodore Cook from the position of ARFF to Lead ARFF at Step 9C $15.19 per hour, effective March 8, 2014. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: this would affect account40-01-135.
MOTION: to approve out-of-state travel to pick up a generator. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
UT Supervisor Millard Billings discussed damage to the Martin's Ridge Road due to recent storms. The estimated cost to fix the damage was $36,968. A temporary repair for winter repair was estimated at $2,200. Spring repair included the installation of a small trench drain at 12 feet rather than 10 feet and 2” of pot mix asphalt. The section of road maintained by the Town of Franklin is at the beginning of the washout area. The estimate is based on the Town of Franklin installing drainage. There is one small area that water gets trapped, forcing water out into the woods is also an option. The Town of Franklin section of the road should be fixed in order to fix the county side of the road. A berm will be created to help with this effort. Commissioner Blasi suggested moving forward with the temporary fix and speaking to the Town of Franklin about working with the County to fix the problem. Supervisor Billings suggested amending the snow plow contract to “punch holes in the snow banks,” to make weepers in order to move water. The paving would be for the top 1/3rd of the road. Commissioner Joy suggested trying the “weeper” scenario first and then working on amending the snow contract with City Line. Supervisor Billings was unsure if the temporary winter repair will work with the impending storm. This may be discussed again on February 18th.
MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title ss. 405 6(1) to discuss personnel matters. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 1:00 p.m. with nothing to report.
MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 ss.405 6(a) do discuss a recent complaint. (Brown/Joy 2-1 Blasi opposed, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi opposed entering into the 2nd executive session and stated that he was not finished with the first executive session.
Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 1:13 p.m. and the following motion was made:
MOTION: to sign the resolution of the complaint against CFO Roy. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Director Wellman stated that she had submitted information to the commissioners on the Phase II Proposal from Ken Knight. Commissioner Brown stated that there was no need to move forward with Phase II when Phase I is incomplete. This should be an agenda item for the March CRM. Commissioner Joy stated that it should be noted that $25,000 of Community Benefit Funds was committed to the Bull Hill equipment project in November 2013.
Fire response from the Town of Aurora was discussed. Commissioner Brown and UT Supervisor Billings visited the Aurora Fire Chief in order to work out an agreement. The Aurora Fire Department is a LLC which also services Amherst, Aurora and Great Pond and has a mutual aid agreement with Osborn. Aurora is listed as a responder for some of the UT’s.
MOTION: to approve the request to remove administratively, Dennis Rollins from the employment rolls. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Unorganized Territory - continued:
Upon receipt of a letter from Malcolm Ulmer of the MCCA Risk Pool, UT Supervisor Billings stated that Mr. Ulmer is satisfied with the fire contract for Cherryfield, he was not overly concerned with the Burlington draft contract but he has major concerns with the Fletchers Landing Township/City of Ellsworth contract. The Town of Burlington has agreed to provide structure fire suppression for all of T3, and T4 as well as the southern ends of West Lake and Nicatous Lake that extend south into Townships 40 & 41. The terms are conditional on payment of the invoice for the West Lake fire of June 4, 2013. The rates will be the same as Burlington's contract with Penobscot County for service to Grand Falls and they have agreed to a three year contract.
Supervisor Billings supplied the commissioners with an updated E-9-1-1 responders list of existing UT contracts for emergency services and stated that there are no contracts for ambulance services within the UT. Commissioner Brown was concerned with fire departments responding to calls other than structure fires in the UT. The Aurora Fire Chief has stated that they are not equipped to respond to medical emergencies. Director Wellman stated that all she was asking for was a designation of who to send in an emergency. Supervisor Billings, in his capacity as E-9-1-1 Addressing Officer, will be contacting Capital and County Ambulance to ask if they will respond to certain areas of the county in order to aid the RCC with their call list.
The Aurora Fire Department draft contract included a $1 annual stipend and per call payments. Commissioner Joy stressed the merits of a uniform contract for each entity. Commissioner Blasi questioned if the City of Ellsworth does not agree with eliminating Section 6, would the Risk Pool still cover us. The answer was yes they have to. Mr. Ulmer stated that he thought we were covered under state statute regarding demolished buildings.
UT Supervisor Billings suggested putting out an RFP for curbside pick-up for Township 10 as the estimated cost of the service exceeds $2,500. The contract with the Town of Franklin included Townships 9 & 10, therefore white goods could be taken there.
MOTION: to authorize the UT Supervisor to put out an RFP for curbside pick-up for Township 10. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Supervisor Billings distributed an estimate to extend high speed internet and cable TV from where it stops on Rt. 179 through Fletchers Landing Township to the Waltham Town Line in the amount of $135,784.54. He requested permission to contact ConnectME to discuss a grant.
MOTION: to authorize the supervisor to apply for a ConnectME grant. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: CFO Roy stated that 3 Ring Binder still exists to run fiber. The Town of Waltham could be contacted to work with the county on the their end. Fair Point should also be contacted with questions. A repeater on the Bull Hill Tower is not possible due to interference.
MOTION: to authorize the CFO to send the payment check to the Town of Burlington. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the fire contract with the Town of Burlington. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve: Small Animal Clinic 2014 Contract. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
The safety committee will be meeting on February 25th at 1:30 p.m. to discuss preparedness regarding a post ice storm action plan, the Emergency Preparedness Plan and safety. The public and county employees should present suggestions prior to this meeting.
Commissioner Blasi read the following statement: The public and ourselves should submit revisions to the co-op plan according to the director. Anything that we see in there, we should send him a revision. The Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) needs to be tested and revised then communicated to the department heads. The department heads should report how they are interpreting the plan, perhaps on a monthly basis. Director Walls stated that the EPP states that it will be reviewed yearly and exercised. He felt this was adequate. A flip book is in development by EMA and will be incorporated into the plan. Membership has not been determined yet as Director Walls has not heard back from everyone who was invited. An invitation will be sent to the EMA liaison. The emergency generator question will also be discussed.
Director Walls questioned whether he should contact the people in Massachusetts who have generators available like the one the airport is obtaining. He was instructed to find out where a generator can be set and if the city ordinance will allow it where they plan to sit it. A pad and fencing would go around it. Additional space is available on existing panels for utilization of the old generator.
Regarding the Law Library, Director Walls was told that there is a minimum requirement for volumes on site. He did not have a list for required volumes but stated that 3-3" bookshelves should be sufficient. A table and Wi-Fi would satisfy the computer requirement but he was not sure what to do with the volumes of books until the required book list is received.
Mr. Henthorne would like to discuss the space offered in the current Law Library as it was not in the original agreement. The currently Law Library encompasses 1100 sq. ft. The court system will require 700-725 square footage for records storage. Commissioner Joy requested that the 700-725 sq ft be taped off in order envision what it would look like. Director Walls has a floor plan available in his office. Commissioner Joy asked to continue the discussion on February 18th.
The supply of propane has been reestablished. The increase in the jail cost was due to not owning the tank although it may be purchased. CFO Roy stated the propane distributor was to extend the price to other county agencies and did not include purchasing the tanks. Director Walls stated the commissioners approved the vendor and as a supplement was told to ask if No Frills would extend the pricing to the other locations. Commissioner Joy requested an amendment or an email in writing to clarify the question and added that we should own all of the tanks. The conversion should take place possibly this week or next.
MOTION: to approve the transfer of forfeited assets in the amount of $957 cash in the matter of State of Maine v. Amy F. Poors. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion: Jail FY13/14 budget. Sheriff Clark stated that the Board of Corrections changed the definition of flat funding to zero increase in the FY14 budget over the FY13 budget. The FY14 budget increased by $60,000 because they decreased cost in some areas and increased in others. The Board of Corrections investment funds did not increase so that met the original definition for flat funding. He was cautiously optimistic the BOC will go back and look at it again, as they have realized that the vote was not good for the system. The BOC has also complicated the matter by saying that in FY15 they are going to start paying their investment fund based on how close the jail is to capacity, therefore they will only be paying a percentage of the investment fund money based on the number of inmates. Sheriff Clark stated that he is hoping there will be “something there” in the FY14 budget to make it through and is also hoping for a more favorable resolution.
Hancock County is dependent on Federal Board money, currently the jail has received approximately $50,000. The jail would lose $60,000 plus anything received over the budgeted federal board money. It is difficult to keep up with the BOC if you don’t attend the meetings. Sheriff Clark was hoping to receive more favorable information in a few weeks. He will need to know on April 1st how much money will be coming in. If funding is not available, layoffs will follow, the staff will be reduced along with the inmate population.
If all the 3rd quarter payments are received, the jail should be $10,000 short, in his estimate, for the year. $6,000 is still due from last year. There are areas that the BOC could make the county utilize county funds like capital accounts and contingency. He stated once again that he is cautiously optimistic.
Regarding the purchase of cruiser cameras, the commissioners preferred that some of the funds come from account E12-70-300. The funds should not come from the contract cruiser account. Commissioner Joy did not want the funds to come from the radio capital account. Sheriff Clark stated that he could not take that much money out of his equipment account E10-20-200 as there will be other expenses throughout the year. A discussion followed regarding the contract reserve account balance and the three cruisers that were purchased in 2013.
100% of the camera purchase should come from account E12-70-300. Commissioners Brown and Joy agreed.
MOTION: to pay for the cameras for the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety Equipment Grant in the amount of $4,720 out of account E12-70-300. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to adjourn. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)