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COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING  

Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 18, 2014 in the conference room at the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.

 

The following bids were opened for the Airport zero turn lawn mower:

Hammond Tractor Co. - Bid total: $16,110

Greenway Equipment Sales – Base price $14,990.71, trade in value $1,500, bid total $13,490.71

Bradstreet Lawn & Garden – Base price $13,881, trade in value $2,000, bid total $11,881

Freedom Power Equipment – Base price $16,654, trade in value, $2,200, bid total $14,454

Union Farm Equipment Inc. – Base price $12,350, trade in value, $1,300, bid total $11,050

Dorrs Equipment – Base price $14,888, trade in $4,898, bid total $9,990

Bids were turned over to the airport manager and airport maintenance director for review and recommendation.

Commission Business:

Sheriff:

MOTION: to approve the request to promote Brooks Deans of Orrington from the position of temporary full-time corrections officer to full-time corrections officer at Step 9C $15.32 per hour, effective April 19, 2014. Seniority date: October 5, 2013. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Sheriff Clark requested to spend $2,696.23 from capital account G-11-3110-00 Furniture & Fixtures, to purchase computer equipment and software.  He stated that a capital account/70 accounts are in the budget, reserve accounts are not.  (This statement was corrected later in the meeting.)  He stated that in prior years funds were budgeted for furniture & fixtures, as all of the funds were not used, the remainder was left in the Furniture & Fixtures capital account.

Commissioner Joy preferred to see the cost come from the jail or sheriff’s working budget as computers are traditionally upgraded every 3-5 years.  Sheriff Clark stated that he did not raise the funds through the budget for this purchase because he had the funds set aside in capital for a few years.  The reason for the purchase was the computer operating system no longer being supported by Microsoft.  Commissioner Joy understood this because he has just gone through the same process with his own computer.  Commissioner Joy stated that the account requested was not a computer account, it was a furniture and fixtures account.  Sheriff Clark explained his understanding of the capital reserve process.  Commissioner Joy stated that software purchases are a recurring event, and that funds for this kind of purchase should come from the working budget.  Commissioner Brown questioned if the purchase had already been made adding that normally, the funds would have come from the working budget.  Sheriff Clark replied that normally, the purchase would have been funded from account E11-74-74-7401.  Commissioner Brown questioned the balance in that account and reiterated that he did not want to take funds out of the capital reserve account.  Commissioner Joy asked “in 5 years from now, where would this expense be paid from?”

Commissioner Blasi questioned if the funds could come from the sheriff’s department rather than the jail.  The jail has to pay for itself, therefor funds for jail purchases cannot come from a different department.  Account 11-02-49-4905 was suggested, funds were already committed from this line.  Sheriff Clark stated that the problem with taking the funds out of his expenditure lines is that there is not enough funds in his regular budget to cover current expenses.  Commissioner Joy stressed the frequency of updating computers every 3-5 years and the associated cost.  He stated that the lines would need to be over expended and that funds should be budgeted every year, the excess would go into a capital account and the funds would be available when they are ready to make the purchase.  Sheriff Clark stated, "that was exactly what was done in 2012."  Commissioner Brown stated that between accounts 46-4604, 46-4614, 52-5215 there are enough funds to cover the expense.  Sheriff Clark stated that with all due respect, he did not need commissioners approval to spend out of his expenditures, and he didn’t need Phil Roy telling him how to run his business and if the commissioners were not going to grant approval for him to spend the funds out of a reserve account to tell him that is their decision and "we shall see what happens."  He stated that he understood Commissioner Joy's position, but he disagreed.

Commissioner Brown stated that in this case he would not spend from the capital account because the BOC has continuously looked at our reserves with displeasure, they feel we should not have any funds in reserves.  If we use what little we have in reserves to pay for the things they should be paying for, then we are playing right into their hands.  If we can show the BOC when they wash our budget that those areas need to be beefed up some, they need to give us money to cover it.  If we take it from our capital account, they're going to say you've got enough money to cover it.  "I say you put it out there and over run them and say you need to give us more money in order to operate in these areas right here, that is why I am going along with it."

Sheriff Clark stated that the problem with that is you (Commissioner Brown) meant the Legislature, not the BOC, between the commissioners decisions here today and the Legislature decision yesterday, I'm stuck in the middle.  Sheriff Clark requested a motion stating that the commissioners were not going to approve his request to pay for the purchase out of the reserve account.

MOTION: to not approve the sheriff’s request out of the reserve accounts. (Brown/Joy 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that the reason was evident, he was not saying not to make the purchase, just don't pay it out of the reserves.  Commissioner Joy stated that he would like to see the funds come from the sheriff’s and jail budgets.  Commissioner Blasi stated that our familiarity with the state and BOC is changing and that we should take advantage the money while we have it.  Commissioner Joy stated that if you are going to have a computer line, he is okay to spend funds from that for computer equipment purchases, he suggested developing a computer capital account and to fund it annually.  For the jail, we need to be very specific of what our future needs are and budget for them.  Sheriff Clark stated that he can’t be tied down by titles.

Sheriff Clark requested to spend $2,990.16 from account G1-3014-00 for 7 computer upgrades and 13 Windows 8 license upgrades.

MOTION: to approve the sheriff request to transfer $2,990.16 from account G1-3014-00. (Blasi/failed for lack of 2nd)

Sheriff Clark stated that this is a computer related account that he has been adding money to over the years.  Commissioner Joy stated that, in the sheriff's regular budget, computer supplies and the like would be budgeted.  This purchase was not budgeted for in the 2014 budget.  Commissioner Brown questioned account 70-200 that was budgeted with $5,000.  Sheriff Clark stated that those funds had been ear marked for mobile laptops.  10 of the 16 mobile laptops cannot run Windows 7, therefore they will also have to be replaced.  One of the advantages of a bulk purchase is that it allows management to purchase at a lesser cost.  Sheriff Clark asked the commissioners what they wanted the funds spent on, if not for an emergency like this one.  Commissioner Joy stated that while there are funds in your budget, spend from your budget.  Commissioner Blasi stated that at the end of the year the commissioners could transfer the remainder of the funds in the account to capital.  Commissioners Brown and Joy disagreed because these funds will be expended by the end of the year..  The argument was not the expenditure, it’s where the funds come from.  Commissioner Blasi stated that in the future, the sheriff will have more technology expenditures.  Commissioner Joy stated that when you take the funds out of the capital account you don’t see the trail in the budget, the idea is to know the needs and to budget for them for the future.  Sheriff Clark stated that he is not going to put an additional $3,000 in his 2015 budget as this is a one time, emergency situation, it is not a budgeting situation.  Commissioner Brown stated that he would rather see the expense paid for out of the budget and to over expend the budget rather than go into capital reserves.  Commissioner Brown stated that he remembered a conversation with Admin. Assistant Michelle Cote at budget time regarding the 70-200 line, stating that the commissioners were going to put very little in that line because she knew that there would be funds coming from somewhere else, like grants.  Sheriff Clark stated that there is no grant money available and that he would no longer be asking to spend funds from capital accounts if the commissioners are going to have this attitude about an emergency purchase.  Sheriff Clark stated that he had no problem running the budget over, adding that it is not very responsible but if that is what the commissioners want him to do, that's what he will do.

Commissioners:

9:20 a.m.

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 ss. 405 6(a) to conduct employee evaluations on Madeira and Billings. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 10:14 a.m. with nothing to report.

Registry of Deeds:

Register Curtis requested approval of aiIndex proposal, funds to come from account 09-30-500.  AiIndex agreed to cut their original upfront fee to $3,744 and $325 less per year.

MOTION: to approve the Register of Deed's request regarding approval of the aiIndex proposal from account 09-30-500. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Airport:

Manager Madeira requested approval of Pen Air contract.  The DOT has stated that they cannot recommend any more service than what the airport is currently getting, 14 flights per week from Pen Air and 7 flights per week from Cape Air.  Contractually, we are better off than in 2013.  Commissioner Joy questioned if Pen Air would provide service to Portland and with an indirect flight from Presque Isle during different times.  Manager Madeira stated that Pen Air does not currently have the resources to service New York, and that they will continue to service Boston.  Service dates will be from May 23, 2014 through October 13, 2014 even though the previous DOT Order only required them to operate through Labor Day.  Commissioner Blasi questioned how to resolve the conflict in language?  Manager Madeira replied by saying that in previous years, our contract stated that the airline had to remain until Columbus Day, but they pulled out after Labor Day, so our contract did not hold much weight.  Our contract is now aligned with the DOT.  If the airline should provide service beyond Columbus Day, like they are saying that they will, that's good, we would prefer that, however if they were to pull out sooner, there is not much we could do as they would still be operating in accordance with the DOT Order.

MOTION: to approve the chairman to sign the Peninsula Air contract. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi requested Manager Madeira to explain Article 7, Section A1 as far as State Statute or Code to the best of his understanding.  It discusses the right of the Lessor (the County) to terminate the lease should the entity declare a form of bankruptcy called ABC.  Companies with financial troubles are often forced to liquidate either through Chapter 7 or 13.  We are saying that if they file a form of bankruptcy with the state, we have the right to give them 30 days prior written notice to terminate the lease with Hancock County.  This is boiler plate language and in accordance with state and federal law.  Manager Madeira stated that the EAS bid regarding Pen Air in Presque Isle and Plattsburgh NY is still pending.  The USDOT is still 2 weeks away from having the order finalized.  considering that service in Bar harbor is contingent upon the Presque Isle/Plattsburgh bid, even if the Hancock County Operating Lease is signed today, Pen Air will probably not sign this for 2 more weeks until the EAS bid is awarded.

MOTION: to accept the bid from Dorr’s Equipment in the amount of $9,990 for the airport zero turn riding lawn mower. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: this is a diesel mower with a deck size of 60 inches.  There are no caveats associated with the trade-in mower which is a John Deere zero turn.  The John Deere mower is worn out, it has broken in half once and has since been welded back together. The capital reserve account specifically designated for this purchase is G3010-70.  Commissioner Brown stated that Kubota is an excellent product.

MOTION: to approve an out-of-state travel request for ARFF live burn training in Massachusetts on April 24, 2014. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the associated cost is $450 from the training account and the cost of travel is approximately $40 with Cape Air.

Commissioner Blasi inquired about the warranty on the zero turn lawn mower, it was thought to be one year.  Manager Madeira will confer with the maintenance director and report back with the answer.

MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign the grant application for supplemental wind cone and replacement of obstruction poles in the Runway 22 transitional area. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Joy explained that this needs a quick authorization.  Manager Madeira stated that the 2014 Grant Application for any new projects is due by May 1, 2014.  Recommended projects are replacement of rotten obstruction poles to the west of Runway 22 and installation of lighted wind cones near the threshold of Runways 4 and 22.  The local share required for these two projects is estimated to be $7,500.  HTA is also working on an additional grant to conduct an EA (environmental assessment) to determine the best location for a new SRE building on the airport.  The local share for this project would be $3,750.  Manager Madeira suggested holding a bid opening on April 25th.  Bid closing and opening dates were discussed.  A bid opening will be scheduled for 8:30 on April 25, 2014.  The total local share estimate for 2014 projects is $97,755, this includes the Partial Parallel Taxiway Project.  Commissioner Joy stated that they are probably up to a Tier 3 permit now at the airport, he didn’t feel the numbers were off by much.  Manager Madeira stated that the worst case scenario would be if the county had to pay $101,505.28 which would be $1,500 over budget, but he felt the numbers were high.  Taxiway "F" replacementc which was originally part of the parallel taxiway project was eliminated from the scope of work for 2014.

The generator pad and building is not included in the 2014 funding request.  The FAA did not want it included in the terminal project but are willing to make it a separate AIP project.  Commissioner Blasi questioned why Commissioner Brown wanted to use another AIP project rather than spending the fund out of the operating account.  He would prefer having 90% of the project paid for by the FAA rather than the county.

With regard to the zero turn mower, Commissioner Joy stated that if everything is as we thought, you're all set if it doesn’t change from what was presented today.

County Clerk:

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 ss. 405 6D to discuss labor contract(s) and proposals. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Attendees included Commissioners Joy, Brown, Blasi, Clerk DePrenger and Patricia Dunn, Esq. by telephone.

11:41 p.m.

Commissioner Joy called the meeting back into regular session at 11:41 p.m. with nothing to report.

Commissioner Blasi made the following motion:

MOTION: Commissioners request reports showing which accounts funds were appropriated from when the account(s) is/are overdrawn. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Commissioners Blasi wanted department heads to show which accounts funds were appropriated from when the accounts is/are overdrawn.

Commissioner Joy used an example of $1,000 budgeted in his computer account, but he has already spent it on a purchase, and took $3,000 out of the capital account.  The commissioners need something showing, in their budget, saying that they added the $3,000 in, he questioned if the account should be overspent and then paid from the capital account?  There is no transparency to show where funds are paid from.  Funding for accounts that are overdrawn showing how funds were spent and where the funds came from was requested.  Department heads should be budgeting for their needs.  Commissioner Joy stated that the CFO's expertise is needed for this discussion.

If funds are spent from capital accounts, the capital accounts should reflect the specific nature of the proposed purchase.  Commissioner Brown preferred to overdraft accounts because during budget time, he can go to each account and see what was actually needed in a particular budget line.  Commissioner Joy stated that this was not a mandate yet, the commissioners are going to explore the idea to see if it can be done.  Clerk DePrenger requested clarification as to what the commissioners were looking for.  They used an example of, if $5,000 was budgeted in an account for 2014 but the department head spent $6,000, where did the $1,000 come from, what account?

A notation could be included sometime towards the end of the year telling where the over drafted funds were paid from and an explanation as to why the account was over drafted. The note would include that either revenues covered the over expense or a capital account covered the expense.  Clerk DePrenger suggested commissioner approval of overdrafts.  Commissioner Brown stated that department heads used to budget for needed large purchases in their budget through their reserve accounts.  Commissioner Joy stated that this is a work in progress that can be worked on with the CFO and then the department heads.  He stated that he personally would like to see funds spent from the budget, not capital accounts.  Commissioner Brown stated that he does not mind spending capital account funds for predetermined, planned purchases.  He felt that this may be a good report for the BAC.  Commissioner Blasi agreed.

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

Respectfully,

 

C. DePrenger

County Clerk

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